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Please review this information about master calendar hearings in the immigration court. The Executive Office for Immigration Review (a.k.a., “EOIR” or the “immigration court” is located in San Francisco for those living here in the Central Valley of California (including Fresno County, Madera County, Merced County, Kings County, Tulare County, Kern County, etc.). Be sure to follow the instructions from your immigration lawyer. If you do not appear at your hearing, the immigration judge is required to issue an order of removal.

There will probably be many other immigrants in the court room waiting for the judge to call them for their turn. When the judge calls you for your turn, he or she will call your attorney on the phone to start the hearing and go on the record. The hearing will normally be very brief, five to ten minutes. If you are represented by an immigration attorney, the immigration judge will ask you two questions: (1) if you agree that your immigration attorney will represent you in immigration court, and (2) if your address has changed. The judge will then direct the rest of the questions to your immigration lawyer. The judge will ask your lawyer if you have received and had a chance to read and carefully review the Notice to Appear, (also known as the “NTA”). The lawyer will then admit or deny the factual allegations of the NTA. In most case, the factual allegations will be correct. The judge will then ask if your lawyer denies or concedes that the government has a legal basis to remove your from the country or to find you “inadmissible”. In most cases, the answer will be “yes”. However, the judge will then ask what forms of relief (asylum, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status for lawful permanent resident status and a green card, naturalization for US citizenship, or other deportation defense) you will be applying for. The lawyer will then state the relief you will be requesting. Then the judge, your lawyer, and the lawyer for the government will agree on a date for your next master calendar hearing or perhaps the final “merits” or “individual” hearing (a.k.a. “trial”).
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