Last time, we began discussing how distressing it can be for a foreign national to be served with a Form I-862, otherwise known as a "Notice to Appear," as it's the first major step in the removal process. Specifically, we discussed the contents of the NTA, which is essentially a summons to appear before an immigration court, and a person's options concerning bond hearings.
In today's post, the second in our series, we'll continue dissecting the removal process. As before, our primary objective is to help demystify what understandably seems like a confusing process.
The first appearance a foreign national makes before the immigration court as part of the removal process is during what is known as the "master hearing."
During this initial inquiry, the immigration judge will likely ask a series of questions designed to establish important information, including:
- The name and address of the foreign national
- Whether the attorney present at the hearing will be the foreign national's attorney during the proceedings
- If the foreign national requires a translator to understand the proceedings and, if so, in what language
It's important to understand that the master hearing may consist of more than just this initial appearance, covering a series of proceedings held before the individual hearing (i.e., the actual deportation trial) takes place.
Indeed, dates for these future master hearings can be set at the initial appearance to accommodate everything from discovery to the outcome of pending applications before U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Furthermore, it's important to understand that these master hearings may be the only appearances actually afforded to a foreign national. That's because no individual hearing will prove necessary if the foreign national admits to enough facts at the master hearing(s) for the immigration court to rule that removal is appropriate under the circumstances.
We'll continue this conversation in future posts, examining some of the specifics of the individual hearing.
If you've been served with an NTA, please consider speaking with an experienced attorney as soon as possible as the stakes are simply too high.