A Notice to Appear (NTA) is the formal document that sets forth charges against you for deportation and signals the beginning of your deportation proceedings. Your NTA will describe your current immigration status, what allegations you are facing, and the charges of removability against you under relevant immigration laws. Therefore, if you receive a NTA from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (USCIS), you must appear in immigration court at the designated date, time, and location. If you fail to appear in immigration court as directed, the immigration judge most likely will order that you be deported. Receiving a NTA does not guarantee that you will be deported. You have rights as an immigrant charged with deportation that an experienced immigration attorney can help you exercise and protect. You should make sure that you understand the charges against you in the NTA and seek clarification from a lawyer about any potential defenses that you may have. You also should ensure that your name and address are correct on the NTA so that you will receive correspondence from USCIS about your deportation case in a timely fashion. When you receive a NTA, your first responsibility is to attend the scheduled hearing in immigration court, which is generally referred to a Master Calendar hearing. At this hearing, the immigration judge will explain your rights and update your contact information. You also will have to either agree to the charges listed in the NTA, or deny them. It is always best to deny the charges, particularly if you have not yet spoken with an attorney. If you choose to agree to or acknowledge the charges, you only will be able to avoid deportation if you can offer a defense proving that you should not be deported, in spite of the charges against you. If you choose to deny the charges, your case will be scheduled for another hearing, which is sometimes called a Contested Merits hearing. Your objective there, will be to prove to the court that the charges listed in the NTA are invalid or incorrect and that you are not legally subject to removal. Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., has the experience that you need when you are facing deportation charges, which is becoming an all-too-frequent occurrence in 2017. We know how to gather the facts that are relevant to your case, assess your options, and determine whether you have any legal defenses that could allow you to avoid deportation and remain in the United States. Contact the Oakland immigration attorneys at our office today and learn how we may be able to help you and your family through this difficult situation.