Notice to Appear in an Atlanta immigration court? Here’s what you must do

Atlanta, GA – Living as an undocumented alien in Georgia is not easy, as you can always be presented with a Notice to Appear (NTA), which means you’re about to be deported. The same can happen to Green Card holders, under certain circumstances, and it can be quite scary. However, you need to know that all is not lost. There are many legal ways you can defend yourself at the immigration hearing, and, with the help of an experienced deportation lawyer, you will be allowed to stay with your family and friends in Georgia, and get a Green Card in the process. 

You may have seen in the movies that you can get a free attorney to defend you in court. Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to immigration court, where, if you don’t bring your own lawyer, you’ll be on your own. 

What can I do if I receive a Notice to Appear?

The Notice to Appear is a document informing you that deportation proceedings are underway. It doesn’t mean that you will be deported right away. The document will probably mention where and when you must appear in immigration court. If you live in Atlanta, at least you won’t have to travel as there’s an immigration court right in the city.

An immigration court deals exclusively with illegal immigrants, and it can decide: 

  • whether an individual should be allowed to remain in the U.S, that is whether he or she is “admissible” or “removable”
  • whether an individual’s application for relief from deportation, such as for asylum or a Green Card should be granted;
  • whether to release on bond an individual arrested and placed in a detention facility for immigrants.

If you receive an NTA, you should bring it to the meeting with your lawyer. An NTA has three boxes explaining why someone may be deported. These categories are: 

  • Arriving alien – someone apprehended while trying to enter the US illegally
  • Undocumented alien – someone who has entered US territory without being inspected
  • Unlawful immigrant – someone who has entered the US lawfully, but has lost that status.

See if the box ticked on your NTA correctly describes your situation, and make sure your name and address are spelled right. 

What happens at the immigration hearing?

If you’re thinking about skipping town or refusing to appear in court that may be a big mistake. Once initiated, the deportation proceedings against you will continue whether you show up in court or not. If you’re not there to defend yourself, you will be sentenced to removal and you can be deported the moment they catch you. 

The first hearing is called a Master Calendar Hearing and is just a formality. The judge will read the charges against you. You can either deny the charges or concede to them. If you’re indeed illegally present in the US it’s best to concede that you are indeed removable. That doesn’t mean you agree to leave the country. On the contrary, you can prepare your defense strategy for the next hearing, which is the one that matters. 

Your fate will be decided at the Merits Hearing, at which time your Atlanta immigration lawyers will present the reasons why you should not be deported, even though you’re an illegal immigrant. There are various reasons you can invoke and it’s up to your lawyers to decide which works best for your particular situation. 

Even if you lose and the judge issues a deportation order, you can file an appeal. You will have to appear before the Board of Immigration Appeals in a couple of weeks or months, and your lawyers can use this time to find another way to fight the deportation order.

If you have received a Notice to Appear before the Immigration Court, schedule an appointment with a trustworthy lawyer at Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC in Atlanta or their South Georgia office.

Contact info:

Kuck | Baxter Immigration LLC

365 Northridge Road

Suite 300

Atlanta, GA 30350

Tel : (404) 816-8611

Image source: Wikimedia commons 

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