The Law Office of Ashley Foret Dees was damaged by Hurricane Laura in August of 2020, but our office and staff are back up and running now in downtown Lake Charles. As a precaution against Covid-19, we do require masks before entering the building, and we handle our consultations over the phone at this time. Give us a call with any questions.

What to Expect During Removal Proceedings

If you’re an immigrant, you understand what’s at stake if you are officially removed from the United States. The process of removal begins with a letter in the mail—the Notice to Appear (NTA). The NTA informs the recipient the U.S. government is seeking his or her removal from the country. If you find yourself in this situation, the best way to prepare for what’s to come is to be fully informed of what might happen.

Proof by Government Required

First of all, NTA is a list of allegations the government must prove about you in order for you to be deported. For example, if you are here on a student visa, the NTA might assert that you did not actually attend school, making you lose your student status and be eligible for deportation.

The NTA also likely has a hearing date, which is when you need to appear in court in front of an immigration judge. If you don’t show up at that time, you will be ordered removed in your absence. The initial hearing is called a master calendar hearing, which usually only lasts a few minutes. In the meeting, a judge will introduce your case and your defense to the court.

Allegations and Charges in Court

In the first master hearing, a judge will ask you to reply guilty or not guilty to the allegations and charges. The judge might schedule an additional hearing so that the government can attempt to prove its accusations against you.

If the government has already done so, the judge will call for an "individual hearing," in which the judge will listen to your application for relief from removal. The individual hearing lasts longer than the master calendar hearing, as it is the time when the judge will evaluate all of the evidence from both sides.

Final Decision and Appeals

Once the hearing has concluded, the judge will announce a decision about whether or not a removal order will be placed against you. You can appeal the decision if it is not in your favor; the government can do the same if they lose the case. Appeals must be filed within 30 days of a judge’s decision, and will grant you an "automatic stay," meaning that you cannot be deported until the appeals process has been resolved.

Talk to our skilled Lake Charles immigration attorneys at Ashley Foret Dees, LLC about your case as soon as possible. We can help guide you through this challenging time.

Contact us by phone or fill out our online form to schedule a free case consultation today.