Preparing for a Master Calendar Hearing: 3 Do’s, 3 Don’ts
Preparing for your immigration court hearing can be overwhelming. It is difficult for foreigners to know what they should do in an immigration court. To alleviate some of the stress, make sure you:
Do arrive early.
Plan to arrive at least 30 minutes prior to your scheduled court time. It is better to be early rather than late. Remember to allow for traffic and parking conditions. Failure to appear in court on time could result in a removal order.
Do dress conservatively.
It is recommended that men wear a dress shirt and dress slacks to court. Dressing appropriately shows a level of respect for the court. Respect engenders trust and trust is all. The foreigners must show that their case is important and they take it seriously.
Do take notes.
Especially if appearing pro se(without an attorney), the foreign nationals must take excellent notes of what the Immigration Judge wants at the next hearing. An Immigration Judge may request additional documents and will have little patience if they are not provided.
Don’t give more information than asked.
Always answer questions truthfully and completely. However, a master calendar hearing is usually a place where the judge asks for a status of your case. Listen carefully to the judge’s questions and answer directly. If the Immigration Judge asks a question that can be answered with a single word, simply answer “yes" or “no."
Don’t forget Judge protocol.
When the Immigration Judge enters the chambers, stand until instructed to sit. Also, make sure your cellular is turned completely off. Finally, the Judge should always be referred to by their title. For example, the correct response is always “yes, Judge" or “yes, your Honor." Proper court etiquette demonstrates respect. Once again, respect helps you with credibility.
Don’t interrupt the Judge or the interpreter.
Allow the Immigration Judge or interpreter, if you are using one, to completely finish what they are saying. Everything that is said in a hearing is being recorded. If you interrupt, then the information is not properly recorded and could create a problem for your case later down the road. Remember the Immigration Judge will always allow the foreigner time to respond when it is appropriate.
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This communication is intended as general information and not specific legal advice, and this communication does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consultation with an experienced competent immigration attorney is the best way to address individual concerns.