If you have received a Notice to Appear ("NTA"), you must take immediate action. An NTA is an official legal document that begins immigration court proceedings leading to removal. More specifically, an NTA is Form I-862 completed and sent by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. These are issued and filed with the relevant immigration court and, as noted, it is the official start of removal proceedings. In other words, if you have received an NTA, the government is attempting to deport you.
An NTA will be sent by mail, hand-delivered, or will be sent to a person's attorney (if they have one on record). An NTA will also have a court date requiring the person (or his/her attorney) to appear at a court hearing at the courthouse listed on the NTA. Typically, the NTA will provide a court date that is at least 10 days out from the date of the NTA.
An NTA will also contain information about the person to be deported, such as name and address. If these are incorrect on the NTA, the information should be corrected. Further, the NTA will state the person's status -- such as an arriving alien (usually a person detained at a point of entry), an alien present in the U.S. who has not been admitted/paroled or an alien admitted but are removable. Again, if this information is incorrect, the information should be corrected. The person's status matters because, under the immigration laws, different alien categories have different potential legal defenses to removal/deportation.
An NTA will also state briefly the factual claims being made by the government concerning why you are removable/deportable.
The Importance of Showing Up for the Scheduled Hearing
All judges are unhappy when people do not show up for scheduled hearings (or do not send a lawyer). Being a "no-show" indicates a lack of respect for the judicial process and for the court itself. Failure to appear will lessen any amount of sympathy that the judge might have for you and your case. Further, failure to appear will have legal consequences, such as an in absentia removal order. At the initial hearing, typically called the Master Calendar hearing, you (or your lawyer) are required to state how you plead to the claims made by the government. You can contest the charges of removability or admit the charges but ask for a waiver or offer a legal defense to removal. In addition, the government's lawyer will appear and give the judge more details on why you should be removed/deported. If you (or your lawyer) fail to appear, you cannot offer counter-evidence or argue against removal/deportation. If you fail to appear, the judge may accept the government's position and order you removed in absentia. Failure to appear may also prevent you from raising certain defenses in later hearings or on appeal.
In short, obtain legal advice from a top-tier immigration attorney and make sure that you (or your lawyer) appear at the time and place written out on the NTA.
Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today
For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.