Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings
The Notice to Appear (NTA) is the charging document used to inform someone of removal proceedings. Removal proceedings commence after the Notice to Appear is deposited with the immigration court. The immigration court must have jurisdiction over the Respondent, the immigrant. Usually, jurisdiction means that the immigrant resides within the geographical jurisdiction of the court. Immigration courts’ jurisdiction is limited by zip codes.
Who Conducts Immigration Court Hearings?
Immigration judges conduct these hearings. Immigration judges are overseen by the Chief Immigration Judge and associate Chief Immigration Judges. They are authorized by law to conduct hearings, grant or deny bonds, accept or reject evidence, and conduct individual hearings (trials). At the end of the trial, immigration judges enter oral or written decisions granting or denying relief.
What is included in the Notice to Appear?
8 USC 1229(a) lists the requirements of a properly filed Notice to Appear:
- The nature of the proceedings
- The legal authority under which the proceedings are conducted
- The acts alleged to violate the law
- The charges and legal authority alleged to have been violated
- The fact that the immigrant might be represented by counsel at no expense to the government
- The requirement for the immigrant to update his contact information, and
- The time and place of the removal proceedings
The United States Supreme Court ruled that a Notice to Appear that did not include the time and place of the initial hearing would be ineffective for stop-time purposes. The case is Periera v. Sessions.
The government is represented by a Department of Homeland Security attorney. The division of the Department that represents is Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA). These attorneys are paid for the government and possess broad powers including dismissing cases.
Do you Need Your Own Attorney in Removal Proceedings?
Honestly, when I was applying for permanent residence, I hired my own attorney, even though I am one. The Department of Homeland Security is represented by seasoned attorneys whose job is to remove you from the United States. Hiring an experienced immigration attorney would be the best investment you would ever make.
Challenges to the Notice to Appear
There are numerous challenges that an experienced immigration attorney would make to challenge the Notice to Appear. After commencement of removal proceedings, any party may move to dismiss the Notice to Appear. These challenges include:
- Problems with service
- Selective prosecution
- Due Process Challenges
- United States citizenship
Dismissal of the Notice to Appear with prejudice would mean that the Service would not be able to bring new charges. Terminating proceedings without prejudice would allow it to refile the Notice.
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