Master Calendar Hearings: How to Prepare

If you’ve gotten a Notice to Appear, you may be feeling a little nervous about your Master Calendar Hearing (“MCH”). This hearing is the first step in your immigration process, which usually means it is the first step in government efforts to deport you. We understand that the possibility of deportation is frightening, but as long as you have an experienced immigration attorney by your side, all you need to do at this point is take it one step at a time.

The MCH itself is not a stressful proceeding. You will not need to make your case at all, present your evidence, or provide any written documents or statements. The purpose of the MCH is simply to schedule dates for subsequent steps, including the submission of written documents. If you have an attorney, she/he will answer most of the immigration judge’s questions.

You should be aware that your attendance at a MCH is mandatory unless excused by the judge.  If you don’t show up, or you’re late, you may be forced to forgo all of the court proceedings, and be automatically deported in absentia. 

We recommend taking the following precautions when going to court, especially for a MCH:

  • Dress appropriately. Go for a look that’s professional and conservative.
  • Aim to arrive early. You never know if you’ll encounter traffic or take a long time getting through security.
  • Bring identification (passport or driver’s license) and any documents related to the court proceeding (in this case just your Notice to Appear).
  • Do not bring anyone with you who could be arrested due to their immigration status.
  • Don’t bring your children to court, unless they are in proceedings and their appearance has not yet been excused by the judge. 

Removal proceedings happen quickly, and it may be hard to follow, especially if you aren’t a native English speaker. If you haven’t already done so, seek out the assistance of an experienced immigration attorney before the MCH. They will represent you at the MCH and advocate on your behalf. They can also help you better understand what is happening in court, and how your case will proceed. 

The attorneys of Sanchez-Roig Law, P.A. are eager to partner with you in your MCH and beyond. We can help you more fully understand your options, and fight against removal, if necessary. To learn more about how our team can help you, give us a call at (305) 373-5385.