The Saga of the Immigrant Children

If you have received a Notice to Appear in Removal Proceedings, then the Removal Process has begun. In addition to being scared at the prospects of being deported, you are probably wondering what is in store for you during the Removal Process. Additionally, you are likely contemplating what, if anything, there is that you can do to stop deportation from happening.

The Merits Hearing

After you receive your Notice to Appear [NTA], you will first attend what is referred to as a “Master Calendar” Hearing before the Immigration Judge. At the Master Calendar Hearing, the Judge will quickly review the details of your case including the grounds for your removal and any defenses you intend to assert to stop removal from occurring. A date for the next Hearing will be set at this time. This next hearing is called a “Merits” Hearing or an “Individual” hearing.

The Merits hearing is arguably the most important Hearing during Removal Proceedings. It is where you get the opportunity to defend your right to remain in the country. Prior to the Hearing, you have the right to submit written briefs outlining the facts of your case and any defenses to removal that you plan on asserting. Defenses include those legal arguments that assert why the law allows you relief from deportation. At the Hearing, you present your arguments and supporting evidence. You have the ability to present witness testimony and any documents or other exhibits that support your case. You will also want to consider testifying yourself at this hearing.

There will also be an Attorney for the U.S. government at the Merits Hearing. This Attorney will present the case against you. He or she will also have the opportunity to cross-examine any witnesses you present to the Immigration Court. The Attorney will have the opportunity to cross-examine you as well. If you are comfortable with speaking English, you should do so as it will streamline the Hearing. However, if you are not comfortable with English or you much prefer speaking in another language, you should request an interpreter. The U.S. government will provide one for you if you make this request.

The Merits Hearing can be quite lengthy, lasting anywhere from hours to days. The Judge is likely to schedule a continued Hearing on a later date if it can not be completed in one day. At the end of the Merits Hearing, the Immigration Judge will render a verdict as to whether or not you will be allowed to remain in the U.S. or if you will be deported back to your country of origin.

Deportation Defense Attorneys

If you should have any questions or need more information about the ways in which the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Laws may impact you, your family, your friends or your colleagues, please contact the U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers at the NPZ Law Group – VISASERVE – U.S. Immigration and Nationality Lawyers by e-mailing us at or by calling us at 201-670-0006 (x107). You can also visit our Law Firm’s website at