If you’re one of many Louisiana immigrants who have been given a “Notice to Appear,” you might be feeling worried and anxious about upcoming legal proceedings. In a perfect world, everyone who enters the United States from another country of origin would have all of his or her paperwork in order ahead of time. In reality, that is often far from the case, as many people arrive in this country through sudden or dire circumstances, without having an opportunity to obtain a visa or other necessary documentation.
If you’re at risk for deportation, there are several things you’ll want to know about the removal process, particularly regarding a master hearing, which you will be required to attend. A master hearing is a term referring to an initial immigration hearing. You will no doubt be asked multiple questions during this hearing, including personal identification information and whether you would like to act alongside legal representation in court.
You might have an individual hearing after the master hearing
In some cases, the issues in question may be resolved during a master hearing. However, it’s not uncommon for a specific case to go to trial, in which case, you’ll be assigned a date, upon which you are to appear at an individual hearing. During this hearing, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) must prove that you are removable. They must do so with evidence that is clear, unequivocal and convincing.
During an individual hearing, you (or your legal advocate) will make an opening statement. You may also question witnesses and provide whatever evidence you have gathered to discount the DHS’s claim that you should be removed from the United States.
There are several other types of hearings, which may pertain to your case
In learning about the removal process, you’ll want to research additional types of hearings that may be relevant to your case, such as a bond redetermination hearing, a rescission hearing or a withholding-only hearing. The more you learn ahead of time, the easier and less stressful it might be to navigate proceedings.
U.S. immigration laws are complex and may be changed at any time. It’s important for you to obtain the most updated information available before heading to court. Receiving a Notice to Appear doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically face deportation. Depending on your particular circumstances and how well you present your case in court, you may be able to obtain a positive outcome.