Deportation, which the U.S. government now refers to as “removal”, is the process by which either an immigration judge, or the Department of Homeland Security orders that an immigrant leave the U.S. for violating immigration laws. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, which is a branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, is responsible for enforcing federal immigration laws and managing the removal of immigrants from the country. DHS initiates removal proceedings by filing a Notice to Appear with the immigration court and serving a copy on you (by giving it to you or sometimes by mailing it to you). This document orders you to appear before an immigration judge regarding potential removal from the U.S., based on allegations that you have violated federal immigration laws. The first scheduled hearing in a removal proceeding is a “master hearing” or “master calendar hearing.” The master is preliminary in nature, and can be one hearing, or a series of hearings, depending on the situation, that occur prior to your removal trial. For instance, you can request that the court schedule another master hearing in order to obtain additional evidence or documents to support your case. Usually, in a master, we will explain to the judge what are strategy is on your case and we will give pleadings to the allegations and charges on the Notice to Appear. In some cases, this will also be your final hearing and you will be ordered deported (for example, if you fail to appear, orif you concede that you are removable and are not eligible for any form of relief from removal). Depending on your strategy, you may also file an application to the judge during your master calendar hearing. For example, you might file for Asylum, or file for Cancellation of Removal. Ask your attorney which application makes the most sense for you. Next,the immigration court will likely schedule a final hearing or trial in your deportation case, which is called an “individual hearing” or sometimes a “merits hearing.” These hearings are much longer and allow your immigration attorney to present evidence and testimony on your behalf to prove to the immigration court that you should not be removed. Typically, the immigration judge will make a decision at the end of your individual hearing or shortly thereafter as to whether you should be deported. You do have the right to appeal an order of deportation, and the appeal process may allow you to remain in the U.S. temporarily, if the judge issues a stay, or puts a hold on, the deportation order. Otherwise, if you do not appeal the deportation order, you are subject to deportation. If you don’t have any other option, you may request permission to voluntarily depart from the country, which allows you to leave at your own expense and avoid some of the negative consequences of an involuntary deportation. If you do not opt for voluntary departure, DHS has the right to immediately deport you , or physically remove you to your home country. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C. is an Oakland immigration law firm who has dedicated their practice to protecting the interests of immigrants who are seeking to remain in the U.S. and facing potential deportation. We are prepared to build the strongest case possible in order to defend you against deportation. Contact us today to set up your free evaluation and discover what assistance we can offer to you and your family.