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Immigration Court in Phoenix, officially part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), is where decisions get made whether a person should be deported (removed) from the U.S. due to immigration law or criminal law violations.
Immigration judges decide if people should be deported immediately, remain in the U.S. or if they are eligible for other forms of deportation relief. Immigration courts are civil, not criminal. That means that non-citizens have the right to a lawyer, but not a free one.
With that in mind, if you’re facing removal proceedings in Phoenix immigration court, it’s in your best interest to consult with a proven immigration attorney.
At Best Immigration Lawyer, we have more than 30 years of experience helping clients overcome legal challenges. Our immigration attorneys in Phoenix are compassionate, determined, and experienced.How Does Immigration Court Work?
According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), immigration judges have the authority to “make determinations of removability, deportability, and excludability,” among many other determinations.
While every immigration court proceeding is different, you can generally expect the following to occur:
- Notice to Appear (NTA): All removal proceedings begin with an NTA (typically filled by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security) with the immigration court. The “respondent,” or person facing deportation, will soon afterward be scheduled for their first appearance.
- First Hearing – Master Calendar: The immigrant respondent will be notified of the removal order against them, requested to enter a plea, designate a country of removal (in case the judge rules to deport them), and inform the court of removal relief they seek. Missing the first hearing could result in automatic deportation.
- Individual “Merits” Hearing: If you and your Phoenix immigration lawyer have a removal defense strategy, the merits hearing is where it will be heard. Here is where the respondent can testify, present evidence, face cross-examination, etc.
- The Decision: After the final statements of each side are heard in the merits hearing, the immigration judge will typically render a decision. In some cases, that decision is immediate. In other cases, judges may deliberate longer and issue a written decision at a later time.
- Appeals: If you disagree with the immigration court decision, you can appeal it in most cases to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). However, if you and your immigration attorney are satisfied with the decision, you can waive your right to an appeal.
Our Phoenix immigration lawyers are here to assist you at every stage of the immigration court process. Contact us today to discuss the details of your case.How Long Do Immigration Cases Take?
Currently, there are more than 12,000 pending immigration court hearings in Phoenix. With that in mind, deportation cases can take years to conclude (except for expedited cases). Since the immigration court system is experiencing such a backlog, a skilled lawyer can sometimes negotiate a deal with government authorities for you to avoid deportation.Am I Guaranteed a Hearing?
Immigrants are guaranteed certain basic rights in immigration court. That includes the right for your case to be heard in immigration court. However, due to the backlog mentioned above, that right has been increasingly infringed upon, and many immigrants are being deported via expedited removal procedures.
If you’re waiting for your immigration hearing to take place, it’s recommended that you consult with a lawyer who will advocate for your right to be heard.I Missed My Immigration Hearing – What Now?
Immigrants who miss their immigration court hearing face imminent deportation orders. You can be arrested and detained as soon as three days after the order is issued. However, it typically takes a few weeks for them to obtain the travel documents and approval for your departure.
If you miss your hearing, your Phoenix immigration lawyer can file a motion to reopen your case. Typically, the court will require a credible excuse. If you provide one, they are more likely to reopen the case.
Once you realize that you’ve missed your hearing, it’s essential to move as quickly as possible to get your case reopened. Otherwise, you risk removal without another notice or hearing.