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Immigration Court Scheduling

The first hearing in Immigration Court is called the Master Calendar hearing.  At this hearing the person summoned to court (the respondent) pleads to the government’s allegations.  The respondent, with or without an attorney, also states the forms of relief he or she plans to seek in regards to the allegations.  Examples of relief include: asylum, withholding of removal, voluntary departure and relief under the Torture Convention.
The judge usually has a number of appointments scheduled for the same time frame.  Typically, respondents sign in and are called in the order in which they sign in.  Some judges will hear the cases of respondents who are represented by attorneys before hearing the other cases.  The hearing will usually only last a matter of minutes.
Once an individual has entered his or her plea, the Immigration Judge will set a date for an Individual Calendar hearing.  This hearing is specific to the case at hand and may last for several hours.  The respondent will have an opportunity to present his or her case, including relavant witnesses and evidence.  The respondent (or his or her attorney) also has the ability to object to the government’s evidence and cross-examine the government’s witnesses. After the respondent and the government have presented their cases, the Immigration Judge will either enter an oral ruling at the conclusion of the hearing or issue a decision at a later date.
An individual scheduled to appear in Immigration Court must attend all Master and Individual Calendar hearings or the Immigration Judge may order the individual removed in absentia.
Page Summary:  A removal proceeding is an immigration court hearing to determine whether a noncitizen will be removed from the United States.