How Should I Respond to a Notice to Appear?
Imagine you are an immigrant residing in the United States and one day you receive a Notice to Appear, either personally or in the mail. Imagine being unfamiliar with United States immigration law and proceedings; the only thing that is clear is that the letter contains allegations against you and ultimately states that the U.S. government is seeking to have you removed from the country. A date is given in the letter, on which you must appear before a judge, but you are not entirely sure of what will take place there. This is a situation in which a Tallahassee immigration attorney (or an attorney elsewhere if you’re not in Tallahassee) is invaluable and can be the difference between an individual being deported and their ability to remain in the United States.
A Notice to Appear (NTA) is the first step in removal proceedings against an individual and understanding one is also the first step in preparing your best defense to decrease your chances of removal. After giving your biographical information, the NTA will have one of three statements checked off, describing the nature of proceedings and placing you in a category based on the type of crime allegedly committed. The rights of individuals within each category vary, and an immigration attorney can help you understand the difference. Next, there will be a list of factual allegations against you, such as criminal convictions or the absence of a valid visa. The next section provides charges of removability and any immigration laws you allegedly violated, which you or your attorney will have to admit to or deny. If you deny the charges, you will have to present legal basis why you should not be removed at another hearing. The NTA will likely give a time, date, and location of your Master Calendar Hearing (your initial hearing). This may also be delivered separately from the NTA. Attending this hearing is crucial, absence may result in immediate removal and the inability to apply for relief. When people come to our Tallahassee immigration law firm having missed an appearance, they are already behind. Discussing the matter with an immigration lawyer sooner than later when you receive a Notice to Appear. Understanding the NTA components above and how they relate to you is essential in preparing a strong defense. Even if a Judge decides that you are to be removed, you have the ability to appeal for relief and provide reasons before a Judge as to why you should be permitted to remain in the U.S. despite the charges against you.
Our Tallahassee immigration attorneys represent clients in removal proceedings in Immigration Court and before USCIS. Contact Liebenhaut Law if you or someone you know has received or may receive a Notice to Appear. Removal proceedings are a complex process and involve many legal issues. Therefore, the most important thing to have is someone who has your best interest and understands every aspect of the law advising you, something Liebenhaut Law attorneys can guarantee you.