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What Is the Initial Master Calendar Hearing?

Last updated on Sep 6th, 2017

The Initial Master Calendar Hearing is a hearing that occurs in immigration court for noncitizens whom ICE aims to remove from the US.

Purpose of the Initial Master Calendar Hearing

As a general matter, the purpose of the Initial Master Calendar Hearing is to

  • advise the noncitizen of the right to present evidence,
  • advise the noncitizen of the right to examine and object to evidence and to cross-examine any witnesses presented by ICE,
  • explain, in non-technical language, the charges and factual allegations contained in the Notice to Appear (Form I-862),
  • take pleadings,
  • identify and narrow the factual and legal issues,
  • set deadlines for filing applications for relief, briefs, motions, prehearing statements, exhibits, witness lists, and other documents,
  • provide certain warnings related to background and security investigations,
  • schedule hearings to adjudicate contested matters and applications for relief,
  • advise the noncitizen of the consequences of failing to appear at subsequent hearings,
  • advise the noncitizen of the right to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals,
  • advise the noncitizen in removal proceedings of the right to an attorney or other representative at no expense to the government,
  • advise the noncitizen concerning the availability of free and low-cost legal service providers.

 

At the Initial Master Calendar Hearing, the Noncitizen Should be Prepared

At the Initial Master Calendar Hearing, the noncitizen should be ready to do the following:

  • to concede or deny service of the Notice to Appear (Form I-862),
  • to request or waive a formal reading of the Notice to Appear,
  • to request or waive an explanation of the respondent’s rights and obligations in removal proceedings,
  • to admit or deny the charges and factual allegations in the Notice to Appear,
  • to designate a country of removal or decline to do so,
  • to state what application or applications for relief from removal, if any, the noncitizen plans to file
  • to identify and narrow the legal and factual issues,
  • to estimate (in hours) the amount of time needed to present the case at the individual calendar hearing,
  • to request a date on which to file the application or applications for relief, if any, with the Immigration Court,
  • to request, if needed, an interpreter for the noncitizen or witnesses.

 

At the Initial Master Calendar Hearing, the Attorney for ICE  Should be Prepared

At the Initial Master Calendar Hearing, the attorney for ICE should be prepared to do the following:

  • to state DHS’s position on all legal and factual issues, including eligibility for relief,
  • to designate a country of removal,
  • to file with the Immigration Court and serve on the opposing party all documents that support the charges and factual allegations in the Notice to Appear,
  • to serve on the respondent the DHS biometrics instructions, if appropriate.

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