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Immigration court procedure, what is a master hearing, alien citizenship interview

Yakima, WA |

What is a MASTER hearing?
My husband had his Citizenship interview in July '08, we rcvd Decision after Sept. 1, '08, and on the Notice to Appear (before an immigration judge) page on (Date) and (Time) say, "a date to be set" and "a time to be set".
In Decision letter, my husband was given several options such as voluntarily leaving United States; requesting prompt hearing (within 10 days of date of letter); appealing decision (with additional $605) within 30 days date of letter, or apparently wait to find out when they set date and time.
We completed N-336 (Request for Hearing on Decision in Naturalization Proceedings) and sent it off by Certified mail with the $605. Later on same day, we received in mailbox Notice of Hearing in Removal Proceedings Immigration Court showing date of Aug 2009. This notice makes mention of "Master hearing" - so what is this?
If it is the hearing from the Decision; can we get the $605 back which we sent? Or if it is different and related to something else, do we wait to see what date we get on the N-336 we mailed?
Can you recommend a very good attorney in Washington State that won't charge an arm and a leg? My husband is disabled and I stay home to care for him. We don't have money.

Attorney Answers 2


Briefly, your husband has been summoned to immigration court, and though he has some time to prepare, you should take all your paperwork to an attorney as soon as possible to find out our options. The court should have sent you a list of free or low cost legal service providers, but they cannot take every case -- so the sooner you get in contact with someone on the list, the better. Here are a few links where you can start your search for an attorney.

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The Department of Homeland Security initiated deportation proceedings against your husband. The Notice to Appear is the charging document used to initiate the proceedings. As it was filed without a hearing date, time and place, the immigration court will issue your husband a Notice of Hearing addressing those deficiencies. If your husband changes address, it is his responsibility to notify both USCIS and the Immigration Court. If your husband fails to appear, he can be ordered deported in his absence.

The Master Calendar hearing is a preliminary hearing. The judge will determine if your husband has received the Notice to Appear and if he understands the charges. The judge will inform your husband of his rights in proceedings including his right to an attorney. The judge will likely want him to enter pleadings to the charges.

Please consult with an immigration attorney who is skilled in deportation cases. Missteps at any juncture can substantially impact a foreign nationals ability to remain in the country.

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