What is the Master Calendar Hearing?

Gavel on top of a calendarDo you have immigration issues in Chicago? If so, you will likely be scheduled for what’s known as a Master Calendar Hearing, or MCH. The MCH is a preliminary hearing for your immigration issue, which is typically the first step in the removal process of someone from the United States. You are likely frightened, anxious, and stressed about the hearing and what can result from it. Your status in the country is at stake and you might have to go back to your home country. It’s important to not only speak with an immigration attorney but also know as much as possible about the Master Calendar Hearing so you can be prepared for what’s to come.

The Basics of an MCH

The basics of an MCH hearing go as follows:

  • Meet with a judge and government attorney
  • Find out how the case will move forward
  • Dates scheduled for submission of documents and individual merits hearing
  • No legal claims or defenses will be addressed
  • No questions will be asked of you regarding your immigration status
  • No witnesses will be asked to testify
  • No ruling will be made by the judge

How to Prepare for the MCH

Preparation is key when it comes to the MCH. You don’t want to walk into the courtroom for an MCH without preparing for what you will face. This will only hurt your case. A Notice to Appear (NTA) will be sent, which provides you the date and time of your hearing. Even if your attorney attends the hearing you must still attend. The attorney cannot stand in your place. Do not bring children with you and make sure you dress professionally. Any family that goes with you to court should have legal status to be in the country or they could be arrested on the spot.

Do not arrive late or fail to show at all. If this happens you could be deported from the country ‘in absentia.’ If you are not deported ‘in absentia’ the judge could deny your legal claims. It’s important that you bring any and all IDs you have, the NTA, a calendar to write down future hearings scheduled by the judge and any other documents your attorney suggests. It is possible that you could wait for hours for your hearing and only be in front of the judge for no more than 20 minutes and as little as five minutes.

During the MCH the judge will ask you for your identification and will review the charges that have been filed against you. After this is complete the judge will ask what type of relief you are seeking (voluntary departure, withdrawal of removal, asylum, adjustment of status and cancellation of removal). It is important that you meet every deadline set forth by the judge during the MCH or risk having your case removed from the court.

Call to Schedule an Appointment with an Attorney

Have you been arrested by ICE in Chicago? Are you facing a Master Calendar Hearing in the near future? You need to protect your rights and consult with an experienced immigration attorney from the Gambacorta Law Office. Call our team today to schedule a consultation at 847-443-9303 or complete a contact form on the website and we will reach out to you in a timely manner to discuss your case.

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