Removal Proceedings are exactly what the name indicates. They are immigration proceedings initiated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to remove/deport individuals from the United States whom DHS believes have violated the U.S. Immigration Laws. They are administrative proceedings in nature and are conducted before the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), commonly referred to as the Immigration Court. The Removal Proceedings are presided by an Immigration Judge and they officially commence when DHS serves an immigrant with the Notice to Appear (NTA) and files it with the Immigration Court. The immigrant must address the government’s charges in the NTA, and provide a defense or apply for any available form of protection, or relief from removal.
Detained vs. Non-Detained Immigration Court
Depending on numerous factors including immigration status, the pending charges against an individual, or one’s past immigration or criminal history, an immigrant can be detained by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at a detention facility. Use this link to locate a detainee who is in ICE custody.
Unless the immigrant is released on parole or on bond, he will continue to remain detained for the duration of the case. If released, however, the case will be transferred to the non-detained immigration court.
Whether an immigrant is detained or not-detained the procedure of removal proceedings is the same. Depending on the facts of the case, generally, there is one or more preliminary hearing called Master Calendar Hearing, as well as an Individual Merits Hearing. The Individual Hearing is the trial where the immigrant can present witnesses and testimony in addition to the written applications that should have been presented to the Court pursuant to the Court’s deadlines. DHS also presents evidence on the Government’s behalf during the hearings. At the conclusion of the proceedings, the Immigration Judge may render an oral decision on the case or reserve his decision in writing. If the decision is unfavorable to the immigrant, it can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Immigrants Have no Right to Court Appointed Counsel
Immigration Proceedings are considered civil proceedings in nature. Therefore, immigrants are not afforded the constitutional protections under the Sixth Amendment that are provided to criminal defendants, and they have no right to court appointed attorney. They can either hire their own counsel, at no expense of the government, or represent themselves in removal proceedings. The Immigration Judge, however, should provide the list of pro-bono legal service providers to the individuals in removal proceedings. Use this link to access the List of Pro-Bono Legal Service Providers in Texas.
Address Change and Appearances before the Immigration Court
Immigrants must provide a change of address with the USCIS, and the Immigration Court within 10 days of moving to a new residence. Also, it is imperative that immigrants always appear before the Immigration Court as scheduled. Failure to appear has serious consequences, and can lead to the immigrants being removed in absentia, from the United States. Use this link to access the Change of Address Form with the EOIR.
Representation before the Immigration Court
Our firm has extensive experience with removal defense immigration cases in the detained and non-detained immigration courts, all over the country, and we can assist you with the following type cases:
- Bond Proceedings
- Applications for Release on Parole by ICE
- Withholding of removal
- Protection under the Convention Against Torture Act
- Termination and Administrative Closure of Removal Proceedings
- Cancellation of Removal for permanent residents and non-permanent residents
- Former 212(c) Waiver Application
- Family and Employment-based Applications for Adjustment of Status
- Various Stand-Alone Waivers, and Waivers in Connection with Certain Applications
- Temporary Protected Status, NACARA
- Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Petitions and VAWA Cancellation of Removal
- U Visas
- Recession Proceedings
- Voluntary Departure
- Motions to Reopen and Motions to Reconsider Removal Proceedings
- Emergency Motions for Stay of Removal