New York Immigration Court

Over the past few years, an increasing number of illegal aliens are finding themselves in removal proceedings.

Removal or deportation is a legal process of removing or deporting an alien from the Unites States, due to various issues including overstaying an approved visa, violations, denial of immigrant petitions, criminal convictions, and other problems.

Almost 20,000 cases came before immigration courts in New York during 2014, more than in any other U.S. city.

The New York City Immigration Court falls under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge which is a component of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) under the Department of Justice and runs the Immigration Courts. The EOIR is a U.S. Government agency that incorporates the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge and oversees the function of all U.S. Immigration Courts.

The New York City Immigration Court focuses on the individual case to determine whether the immigrant is eligible for any forms of relief from removal and whether he/she will be allowed to stay in the U.S. or not.

Which immigration Court has jurisdiction

Removal proceedings start by the notification of Form I-862, Notice to Appear (NTA) by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on an immigrant. The NTA is filed with the immigration court having jurisdiction to the immigrant’s place of residence. If the immigrant no longer resides within the jurisdiction of the original court, a Motion for a change of venue can be filed.

Where is the immigration Court in NYC; How to go to the immigration Court

The New York Immigration Court address is 26 Federal Plaza, New York, on Broadway between Worth and Duane Streets. It is the largest federal office building in the world. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and the Immigration Court are two of the government offices located there.

Immigration Court New York Varick street

The New York Varick Street Immigration Court falls under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge, too. The New York City Council provided $500,000 to launch a pilot project in 2013, with the aim of representing 190 of the 900 indigent detained immigrants whose cases were before the Varick Street Court.

What is immigration Court proceedings

Removal proceedings begin when the government issues a NTA. The NTA is presented to an Immigration Judge (IJ) who must decide whether to order an immigrant to be removed from the U.S. or allow he/she to remain.

Immigration court proceedings generally include 3 stages:

  1. Initial hearings (Master Calendar Hearings or MCH)
  2. Hearings focused on the individual (Individual Hearings or Merit Hearings);
  3. Post-hearing proceedings for anyone granted relief or for orders of voluntary departure or removal.

The first court date in the NTA will be for a Master Calendar date. In February 2008, the EOIR released its own practice manual on Immigration Court Proceedings.

How to file in immigration Court; How to prepare for immigration Court

Usually, the chief counsel’s office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issues a document called a Notice to Appear (NTA), a formal accusation against a person that he or she entered or is present in the U.S. without authorization.

The NTA contains the reason of removability from the United States. The NTA must be properly served on the immigrant. If a respondent was not given proper notice of the court hearing, a deportation order entered in absentia can be rescinded by filing a Motion to Reopen.

Removal proceedings begin when a NTA is issued by the ICE and filed with the Immigration Court. The alien will be asked by the Immigration Judge (IJ) to verify the contents of the NTA.

An immigrant that received a NTA, is called “respondent”. When the respondent receives a NTA, he or she expects to receive a notice from the immigration court within about one week to one month, telling him/her when and where the first hearing will be.

The first court date in the NTA will be for a MCH date. If the recipient has been detained, the immigration courts will schedule the first hearing and send a hearing notice as quickly as possible.

Before or on the date of the first MCH, the respondent’s attorney must submit a completed Notice of Appearance (Form EOIR-28), preferably on green paper, two hole punched at the top, to both the IJ and the ICE attorney.

What happens at an immigration Court hearing; how does immigration Court work?

A Master Calendar (MCH) is the first hearing in removal proceedings and it only lasts approximately 15 minutes. The MCH is one of the first steps in the immigration removal proceedings. The purpose of the MCH is to decide how the respondent’ case will move forward.

Generally, 20-30 cases are scheduled during a two hour period for MCH. The issues reviewed at an MCH are very important to any case. Immigration proceedings like asking for asylum, are usually handled in a single hearing, and are completed much more quickly than removal proceedings.

During the MCH, the respondent has to tell the judge the type of relief he or she is seeking: asylum, cancellation of removal, or adjustment of status among others.

At the MCH, the IJ may schedule another hearing to give the government a chance to prove its allegations and charges or, if the government proves it, will schedule a hearing to hear the respondent’s application for relief from removal. That type of hearing is called Individual Hearing or Merit Hearing.

At the end of the MCH, the respondent will receive a written notice of the date, time, and place of the individual hearing from the court clerk. The date of the merit hearing will generally be several (4 to 18) months later. The IJ usually asks how much time will be necessary to complete the hearing. Once the hearing date is set, the MCH is adjourned. Individual hearings focus the attention to a specific respondent’s case and take much longer than the 15 minutes MCH.

During the hearing, the court will hear testimony and review evidence presented by the respondent and by the government lawyer. In most cases, the IJ will state an oral decision immediately in open court, on the same day of the hearing.

Sometimes, the IJ sends a written decision in the mail or schedule a MCH date for the respondent to return for the decision. When the IJ issues an oral decision, whether favorable or unfavorable, the respondent receives only a minute order form filled out and signed by the IJ.

Most IJ take cases where the respondents are represented by counsel first, while some others hear pro bono cases before cases with private attorneys.

How to check immigration Court date

The date of the first court hearing depends on how busy the court is. The immigration courts take care to schedule hearings within a few weeks, or a few months at the most.

Nevertheless, courts are usually very busy because of the amount of people in removal proceedings and the lack of enough IJs and the first hearing is often from a couple months to a year after you get the NTA.

In order to get information on the immigration court date or bond hearing, it is possible to call the Immigration Court Information System. The electronic phone system provides EOIR's customers with ready access to immigration court information in English and Spanish (24 hours a day, 7 days a week).

The automated immigration court information system was activated on July 1, 1995. With their registration number (printed on all DHS and EOIR correspondence), aliens can get the information on:

  • Hearing date, time, and location;
  • Case processing information;
  • IJs decision outcome and date;
  • BIA case appeal information; and
  • Filing information.

If you miss any court hearing, you could lose any kind of immigration relief and be ordered removed from the U.S.

Who can represent you in immigration Court

Your deportation matter can take months or even years to reach a resolution. You could be waiting months or even years for your individual hearing, depending on how busy the court is. An ICE lawyer will be prosecuting the case against you in Immigration Court.

An experienced immigration attorney may help you when facing immigration court proceedings. Most attorneys in Immigration Court practice there every day, so the IJ and ICE attorney will speak in a way, which may seem unfamiliar, but it is very important to understand what they tell to you.

Your attorney checks in with the court clerk seated to the side of the IJ and hands the clerk the completed EOIR-28, if it has not been electronically filed already. The attorney then wait for the case to be called. IJs usually call the case by the attorney’s name or by the last 3 digits of your alien number. If the IJ determines that you have to be deported, you will be given the opportunity to apply for any form of Relief from Removal.

DHS sometimes makes mistakes, so it is important to examine the allegations closely.

As a criminal and immigration lawyer licensed in New York and New Jersey, I represented many immigrants placed in removal proceedings and helped them fight their case. I provide skilled and aggressive representation in deportation defense matters. There are several forms of relief from deportation, such as Adjustment of Status, Cancellation of Removal, 212(c) or 212(h) Waivers, Asylum under section § 208 (a) of the INA, and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, among others.

If the immigration judge denied your case, you have the opportunity to appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. An appeal provides an automatic stay on the order of removal, meaning that the government can not remove you while the appeal is pending at the BIA. An appeal must be filed within 30 days of the IJ’s decision.

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