What Happens at a Master Calendar Hearing
When you attend your MCH there will be others present for the same type of court hearing at the same allotted time as you. Do not be afraid, when it is your turn the Immigration judge will call you up according to your name and Alien Registration Number (A-Number).
The judge will request your identification information such as your name, home address, your native tongue and other languages you are fluent in.
Download Application for Immigrant Visa and Alien Registration Form
If you are represented by an attorney, the judge will allow the chance to introduce him and you must submit the formal document of his Notice of Appearance as your attorney.
If your attorney is present, both of you must move forward and your attorney will speak with the judge in your defense.
If you are unrepresented and you cannot speak or understand English, ask for a Spanish translator who can assist you. Moving forward in English (if you do not understand the language) will only damage you and your case.
The judge will provide someone to help you, at no additional fee. If by any chance you cannot understand the translator or the translator is incorrectly translating, let the judge know at once, and the judge will look for another person or reschedule the MCH for another date and time at the availability of another translator.
If the judge hires another translator that same moment pay close attention to the translation and then answer in your mother tongue. You are not allowed to hire your own personal translator.
Ensure that you read your NTA very closely before your Master Calendar Hearing. Note that the immigration judge will also examine the charges filed against you as shown in your Notice To Appear and you will have the option to either admit or deny those charges.
Remember, if you are caught lying you can be charged for perjury in court. If there is an error on the NTA document be sure to remind the judge.
Once you are seeking asylum the charges filed against you will state the following:
- Your Date of Entry in the United States of America
- You Nationality
- Entrance without inspection
- Indication if applicant overstayed a visa
- or entered the country with falsified documentation
Anything beyond these stated elements may be an error. However, if you are still uncertain it is best to consult with an immigration attorney and he will advise you.
What to Do at a Master Calendar Hearing
When in the presence of the judge explain the type of relief you are pursuing. If it is asylum, withdrawal of removal, voluntary departure, cancellation of removal or adjustment of status, then do so immediately.
If it is asylum be sure to submit an application for withholding of removal and protection under the United Nations Convention Against Torture.
Be prepared to answer appropriately when the judge asks you to designate a country, if you are applying for asylum, you will be asked for an appointed country of removal.
In this instance, it is best to say you are afraid to return to your native country for fear of persecution. Do not select a country of removal, however, in this case, the judge will likely choose your home country.
The judge will schedule important dates for your case. Dates for submission of applications, an additional Master Calendar Hearing, and individual merits hearing.
If you are seeking asylum and you chose an expedited removal schedule, the individual merits hearing dates will be set within a timeframe of one-hundred and eighty days since the submission of the asylum application. This specific time period does not allow enough time to prepare substantial documentation for a strong case.
Once you waive your expedited removal, you cannot qualify for employment authorization if your asylum case is still pending in an immigration court. Once you have been put in detention, an order of expedited removal will be placed against you and you will not be able to waive it.
Be very prompt in meeting all the deadlines scheduled by the immigration judge. If you need to ask for additional extensions to meet those deadlines set by the judge, you must do so. You must provide a clear explanation as to why you need more time.
Say for example if you need time to seek legal representation and you need more time to discuss with your immigration attorney. At the end of your Master Calendar Hearing, another Notice to Appear will be provided to you, identifying the next date for your individual merits hearing or Master Calendar Hearing.
Seek Legal Representation an Expert Immigration Attorney
Going to a Master Calendar Hearing unrepresented is not on your best interest, seek an expert immigration attorney that can advise you on how to prepare for your court hearing.
The Gambacorta Law Office can help you prepare for your MCH. For an office or phone consultation, call us at 847-443-9303. Our offices are located in Arizona and Illinois.