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What to expect at a Master Calendar Hearing in Immigration Court




by:
J. Christopher Keen
Keen Law Offices, LLC - Orem Office

 
January 29, 2009

Previously published on January 2009

Master Hearing FAQ

 

What can I expect at my Master’s Hearing?

 

As this is the initial hearing in the Salt Lake City immigration court, and in many immigration courts around the country, it will be relatively short once your case is called by the court.  This hearing will be merely to discuss your legal options and schedule a new date.  No witnesses will be called, you will not be asked about the details of your case, nor will the judge make a decision on your case if we are asking the court for some sort of relief.  Many other individuals in immigration proceedings will be present. The purpose of this hearing is to meet with the government attorneys, and plan for your main hearing, or individual hearing. 

 

Should I arrive early for my Master’s Hearing?

 

Yes, please be there 15 minutes early.  If you are not present or if you arrive late, you may be deported by the judge even though you are not present, and any bond you may have paid will be lost.  Be prepared to be at court for as long as three hours or more depending on the judge's calendar.

Do I have to speak to the judge in English?

 

If you speak English relatively well, we recommend you speak in English.  The hearings go much faster and you make a better impression on the judge if you can speak English.  If you need an interpreter, you have a legal right to one.  The court will provide an interpreter in your native language at no expense to you.  However, you cannot bring your own interpreter.  If you are using the court interpreter, do not answer in English, do not answer before the interpretation is complete, and look at the person asking you the question, or look at the judge, do not look at the interpreter, while testifying.

 

What else happens at a Master Hearing?

 

Your attorney will do most of the communicating. The judge will probably ask you a few basic questions at the very beginning, such as your full name, if you need an interpreter, what your current address and phone number is, and whether your attorney is in fact authorized to represent you and be your attorney.  After that, your attorney will be doing all of the talking to the court.  He will be by your side the whole time.

 

What should I wear to the Master hearing?

 

You should look nice and you should feel comfortable.  If you have a suit or other formal wear, and feel comfortable wearing it, then you should wear it.  If you are not comfortable in a suit, wear clean, pressed clothes that you do feel comfortable in.

 

How long will the hearing take?

 

As was mentioned before, Master hearings can last 15 minutes or as long as an hour. However you may have to wait to see the judge for up to 2 hours. So be prepared to be in court for three hours.

 

Who should accompany me?

 

You can bring family members who have legal immigration status as support such as a spouse or friend with you, but they may not be able to enter the courtroom.  Do not bring young children. 

 

What should I bring?

 

Bring your identification, hearing notice, and any original documents and any other item the attorney instructs you to bring.

 

What happens if I do not attend the Master hearing?

 

Unless you or a very close relative is very sick, if you do not appear on time for your hearing, you will be ordered removed (deported) from the United States, you will lose any immigration appearance bond, become a fugitive, and may lose the opportunity to seek relief in the future. 

 

What will happen between now and the time I have my next hearing?

 

You will be contacted by Keen Law Offices to review possible submission of

additional documents and further case preparation. You will meet with the attorney over your case and prepare for direct examination (when the attorney asks you questions) and to prepare for cross examination (when the government attorney asks you questions). 

 

Can I travel in the United States while my court case is pending?

 

If you are released on a bond, carry a copy of the bond determination and your most recent Notice of Hearing.  You are legally permitted to be in the United States until there is a final order of removal against you. 

 

Can I work until my individual hearing?

 

If you have a work authorization card, you may legally work while your court case is pending, even while your case is on appeal.



 

The views expressed in this document are solely the views of the author and not Martindale-Hubbell. This document is intended for informational purposes only and is not legal advice or a substitute for consultation with a licensed legal professional in a particular case or circumstance.
 

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