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Master Calendar Hearing

Master Calendar Hearing

PUBLISHED ON: December 27

Are you prepared for your preliminary immigration hearing known as the master calendar hearing? If you have recently been notified that your case has been scheduled for this next phase, it is time to consult with a dedicated Chicago master calendar hearing lawyer. Having an attorney at your side to assist you with navigating this process and addressing any obstacles, challenges or delays that emerge can give you a great deal of confidence and peace of mind about your immigration case.

There is no doubt that you have many questions associated with a master calendar hearing and being prepared and trying to approach this process on your own could be overwhelming. You don’t want to expose yourself to the unnecessary risk of making mistakes that could threaten your ability to stay in the United States.

What Is a Master Calendar Hearing?

Many immigration matters could fall under the umbrella of being subject to a master calendar hearing. This is the typically beginning of efforts to remove an immigrant from the United States and, therefore, anyone who has received notice of this pending hearing should be taking this situation seriously and consulting with a Chicago immigration lawyer immediately.

In a master calendar hearing, you as the named person will meet with the government attorney and the judge to determine how your case is likely to move forward. It is very beneficial to have legal resources available to you at this point in time in form of a Chicago master calendar hearing.

During this initial meeting, the judge will schedule dates for the submission of your written documents as well as the individual merits hearings. Your attorney can be at your side for this entire hearing and can assist with answering most of the judge’s questions. One of the most common misconceptions about a master calendar hearing is that the court will handle any of the defenses or the legal claims in your case at this point in time.

During the master calendar hearing you will not be directly questioned about applications for immigration and are not responsible for presenting any witnesses. The master calendar hearing is not an opportunity for the judge to make rulings about the legal issues in your case. Instead, this is a time to learn more about the next phase of your case so that you can be prepared. Since it can be very confusing and overwhelming to figure out what the master calendar hearing means and what is being stated by the judge, it is important to be prepared with the support of the right Chicago immigration lawyer. Being able to ask questions and prepare the right documents and show up professionally can make a big difference in the outcome of your case.

Preparing for Your Master Calendar Hearing

The first notification you’ll receive is a notice to appear for your master calendar hearing. This will specify the location and the date of your MCH. You are legally required to attend the master calendar hearing even if you also have a Chicago master calendar hearing lawyer to assist you.

Both of you would need to show up and be prepared for what to expect in this hearing. You are eligible, however, to bring family members with you to the court. It is critical that each of these people that you bring with you to the master calendar hearing has appropriate and legal immigration status. Otherwise, you could expect that they might be arrested. It is also important to show up in professional dress and avoid bringing children to your master calendar hearing. Another mistake that is easily avoided with your MCH is showing up late. If you are late or absent, you could be ordered for deportation.

This is known as deported in absentia. The judge might also deny your legal defenses or claims because you showed up late. Going through any security checkpoints associated with this hearing makes it even more imperative that you consult with your Chicago immigration lawyer in advance and be prepared to show up early prior to the scheduled time. Make sure you understand how your local court operates before you make your plans to show up for the day.

Some of the materials that you need to bring with you for your master calendar hearing include the NTA notice that you received to show up for the day, your identification documents, and any original documents that might be essential at this early stage. Your Chicago master calendar hearing lawyer can help advise you about the documents you should have on hand.

The judge will be prepared to schedule deadlines and next steps in your case, so make sure that you have access to your personal calendars so that you can mark these and prepare to attend as well as to verify that your lawyer will be in attendance. Many people are surprised by the fast nature of a master calendar hearing. You are usually in front of the judge for a maximum of 20 minutes even though you might be waiting at the court for several hours before to check-in and wait.

What to Expect During Your Master Calendar Hearing?

Your Chicago master calendar hearing lawyer will help advise you about what to expect. Other people will have their hearing scheduled during the same time period as yours. Your alien registration number will be called by the judge when it is time for your case. Do not force yourself to use English if you are not comfortable to do so. Ask for an interpreter. Usually an interpreter will be provided by phone for free, but you’ll want to verify this with your Chicago immigration attorney in advance.

The judge will initiate the proceeding by asking for your identification, information, and review the charges listed against you in the NTA that was previously provided to you. You’ll either have to deny or admit each one of these charges and it is your responsibility to inform the judge of anything in that NTA that is not correct. You will then be able to inform the judge about the kinds of relief you are seeking which you should have previously discussed with your Chicago master calendar hearing lawyer. This can include voluntary departure, asylum, cancellation of removal, withdrawal of removal or adjustment of status.

The judge will then schedule important dates in your case and what happens next will depend on the type of relief you are seeking and the judge’s insight into this specific case. Schedule a consultation with a Chicago immigration lawyer today to learn more.


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