What Happens in Tennessee Immigration Court

Preparing for immigration court can be an intimidating experience, but being prepared for the process can make it easier.

Before most people can be deported from the United States, they have a right to a hearing in immigration court. During the hearing, an immigration judge will determine whether a person should be deported or if they are eligible to remain in the country. During the hearing, the noncitizen must show that he or she should not be deported because you qualify for an immigration benefit that allows the immigrant to stay in the country. Alternatively, immigrants may be able to have their deportation proceedings dismissed if they can prove that the immigration authorities are mistaken in saying they should be deported.

In almost all circumstances, a person is in immigration court because the U.S. government is trying to deport him or her from the United States. Most people in immigration court are people who have come to the United States without the proper documentation or have overstayed their visa. But permanent residents can be placed in deportation proceedings, too, particularly for committing certain crimes.

There are three different types of hearings in immigration court. Below, one of our Tennessee immigration lawyers explains what they are and what happens at each.

Master Hearing

The first immigration court hearing is public, and many different people appear before the judge. During this hearing, immigration authorities must prove that you can be deported on the grounds that you have violated certain immigration laws or because you are not a United States citizen. The judge will question you about where you live and the application you intend to submit to stay in the country. It is very rare for people to be deported at a master hearing. The judge will likely give you a future date for the next hearing instead. However, if a person fails to appear for court, the court will likely order the person deported in their absence.

Individual Hearing

If you meet the eligibility requirements to apply to remain in the country, you will have an individual hearing that is typically before the same judge. During this hearing, you can provide testimony and evidence about your eligibility for immigration status. You can also apply based on fear of persecution in your own country, a family relationship, or the amount of time you have been in the United States. The judge may hear this evidence over one or more hearings. In order to have an individual hearing, the noncitizen must qualify for some form of relief from deportation, such as asylum, withholding of removal, cancellation of removal, adjustment of status, or voluntary departure. A qualified immigration attorney can help a person determine if he or she qualifies for relief from removal.

The government also has an opportunity to bring witnesses and evidence. The judge will end this hearing by approving or denying your application, which may be in writing or verbally. If your application is denied, you will have an opportunity to appeal the decision.

Bond Hearing

You may be able to ask for a bond hearing if you are detained by U.S. immigration authorities. While not all detained immigrants have the right to request a bond, many do. During this hearing, you will ask an immigration judge to release you from custody upon paying bond. The judge will consider if you pose a danger to the community and if you will appear at court hearings in the future. At this hearing, you should present evidence of your ties to the community, work history, and any other factors that can convince the judge to set a reasonable amount of bond.

Our Immigration Lawyers in Tennessee Can Represent You in Court

Immigration court is intimidating, and there is a lot at stake. You should not take the chance of representing yourself. At Ozment Law, PLC, our Tennessee immigration lawyers can prepare you for court and help you collect evidence that is beneficial to your case. Call us now at 615-321-8888 or fill out our online form to request a consultation and to get more information.