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Understanding your rights regarding the removal process

When a foreign national, meaning a person who cannot be considered a naturalized citizen under U.S. law, receives a "Notice to Appear" -- or Form I-862 -- it can be a truly frightening experience. That's because this document will next be filed with the immigration court, marking the completion of the first step in the removal process.

In today's post, the first in a series, we'll begin taking a closer look at this removal process from the NTA through the individual hearing. Our goal in doing so is to help demystify what understandably seems like a confusing and unnerving process. 

At the outset, it's important to establish that the immigration courts that oversee the removal process -- as well as administrative hearings and appellate reviews -- are part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The EOIR, in turn, is a branch of the U.S. Department of Justice. 

As for the aforementioned NTA, it is initially served on the foreign national and filed with the immigration court by the Department of Homeland Security. This summons, in turn, typically sets forth the following information:

  • The type of proceedings being initiated and the legal authority for doing so
  • The allegedly illegal conduct committed by the foreign national
  • The formal charges being brought and the statutes that the foreign national stands accused of violating
  • The obligation of the foreign national to supply both a current address and phone number, and their ability to retain their own attorney
  • The consequences of not appearing at the scheduled hearing

In the event a foreign national is detained, they may be able to secure release after posting a bond, the amount of which is set by DHS.

Once their release is secured, they have the right to request that the immigration judge hold a bond hearing to re-examine -- and possibly lower -- this bond amount set by DHS. The decision ultimately reached at the bond hearing can be challenged by either the foreign national or the DHS on appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals.

We'll continue this conversation in future posts.

Given the stakes involved, please consider speaking with an experienced attorney as soon as possible if you've been served with an NTA

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