deSeguin Immigration Law llc

Immigration Court: Deportation/Removal Proceedings

Legal Representation in Immigration Court

Immigration attorney Suzan deSeguin began defending non-citizens from deportation (called  deportation defense or removal defense) in 1994.   If the Department of Homeland Security has started removal or deportation proceedings against you, it is important that you consult  an  immigration lawyer.  You have the right to have a lawyer to defend you in immigration court.  Often defenses to deportation and/or forms of relief from deportation are available.  An  attorney, who is experienced in defending noncitizens and immigrants against removal, can investigate available legal means to avoid deportation  and advocate on your behalf. 

Location of Denver Immigration Court

The Denver Immigration Court is located on the third floor of the Federal Building at 1961 Stout Street, Denver Colorado 80293.   You may contact the Denver Immigration Court at 303-844-5815   with questions.   To find limited information about your case, such as the next hearing date, you can also phone the EOIR information number 1-800-898-7180, which is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  The downtown immigration court has the following judges:  Melanie K. Corrin, Ivan E. Gardzelewski. Alison R. Kane, Matthew W. Kaufman, Donald C. O’Hare, and Eileen R. Trujillo.     There are also immigration courtrooms  at the  immigration detention facility in Aurora, Colorado.  

If your address changes

If you have been served with a Notice to Appear (document which begins deportation proceedings), it is critical that you insure that the immigration court has your correct address at all times.  Immigration Judges do sometimes change the date of your hearing, sometimes moving the date forward by months or sometimes moving it back.  A notice will be sent to the most recent address the court has for you.  If you do not get the notice and, therefore,  do not appear for a scheduled  removal hearing at the exact place, date and time, the immigration judge may order you deported from the United States.

Notice to Appear  
The document that starts removal/deportation proceedings is called the “Notice to Appear.”  This notice is prepared by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), served on you, and filed with the Immigration Court.  The Notice to Appear generally lists several “allegations”  against you, similar to the following:
  1. You are not a citizen or national of the United States;
  2. You are a national of “some country” and a citizen of  “some country;”
  3. You were admitted to the United States on or around  “some date”  at or near “some place” as a nonimmigrant visitor for pleasure with authorization to remain in the United States for a temporary period not to exceed “that date;”
  4. You remained in the United States beyond “that date” without authorization.
After the allegations, the Notice to Appear will say you should be removed (deported) from the United States  based on a statute or law from the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), similar to this:

On the basis of the forgoing, it is charged that you are subject to removal from the United States pursuant to the following provisions of law:

Section 237(a)(1)(B) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, in that after admission as a nonimmigrant, you remained in the United States for a time longer than permitted.

The precise factual allegations and the charge(s)  in the Notice to Appear are  important and should be discussed with an experienced immigration lawyer. The DHS can and does make mistakes, sometimes. Any of the allegations may be factually wrong – even the first allegation.  If the first allegation is wrong — if you are, in fact,  a United States citizen by law —  then removal proceedings should be terminated.  The DHS does not have the right to deport or remove United States citizens.  Yes sometimes,  even United States citizens are placed in removal proceedings by mistake.   I have seen cases where individuals were unaware that they were, in fact,  citizens of the United States based on their family history. The factual allegations of the date you entered the United States and how you entered the United States can also be critically important.  Your eligibility for certain forms of relief from removal or deportation may depend on how long you have been in the United States or how you first entered the United States. There are times when, even if all the allegations in the NTA are factually correct, those allegations still do not support the legal charge of removability or deportability.  The NTA is then legally insufficient to support removal proceedings against you.  Your lawyer will  argue this to the immigration judge and request that your removal proceedings be stopped or terminated.
Master Calendar Hearing
Your first appearance at immigration court will usually be for a short hearing called a “master calendar.” For this hearing, often twenty or so  individuals are scheduled at the same time before the same judge.  You will be called forward one at a time.   If you are ready to proceed, you or your lawyer will plead to the allegations and the charges in the Notice to Appear.  You may contest all allegations and charges.  If so,  the immigration judge will either have a contested removal hearing, then and there, or set another date for you and the government attorney to return to present evidence and argue the case.  Sometimes,  all the factual allegations and the legal charge of removability are correct, but you have one or more possible avenues of relief that, if successful,  will stop your deportation from the United States and provide you with legal status in the United States.  In this case, you or your lawyer may admit the allegations,  concede removability, and explain to the court the types of relief that apply to your case.  The immigration judge will then set another court date for you to return for an  “individual” or “merits” hearing.  At the master calendar hearing, the immigration judge will also set due dates for submission of your applications, supporting documents and your witness list.  Failure to meet the deadlines can result in forfeiture of your rights to relief from removal
Individual or Merits Hearing

The Individual or Merits hearing is quite different from the master calendar hearing.  The court will have scheduled time to hear your case.  You may have 1/2 hour or 4 hours depending on the nature of your case, and sometimes even longer.  You will have submitted your applications, documents and witness list several weeks in advance of your hearing.   At the individual hearing, you will present your case to the immigration judge.  You will testify and you may have other witnesses testify for your case.   Your immigration lawyer will ask you  questions to help guide you through your testimony and to make sure that you do not leave out  facts  or information that are important for your case.   Your lawyer will do the same with your other witnesses.  The DHS or government  attorney has the right to  cross examine you and any of your witness.  The government attorney may also present witnesses.  If so,  you or your attorney have the right to cross examine those government witnesses.  Usually, after all the testimony has been presented and the case has been argued,  the immigration judge will give an oral decision that same day. Either side has the right to appeal the immigration judge’s decision.    If the immigration judge grants your case, you will be finished with removal proceedings – unless the government lawyer decides to appeal the decision.    If the immigration judge denies your case, you have the right to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

Relief from Removal or Deportation

Several forms of relief from removal exist.  These include asylum, CAT,  withholding, TPS, non-LPR cancellation of removal, LPR cancellation of removal,  VAWA cancellation,  NACARA, adjustment of status, adjustment of status combined with waivers, nunc pro tuncapplications for admission,  and voluntary departure.  Eligibility for the different avenues of relief are fact based and should be discussed with a knowledgeable immigration lawyer.

If you are facing deportation or removal proceedings, it is extremely important that you consult with an immigration lawyer with experience in deportation defense as early as possible.

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