The Master Calendar Hearing in Immigration Court

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The Master Calendar Hearing & Why it is important

Master Calendar Hearing
Immigration Court

“Even though the Master Calendar hearing is only a few minutes long, it will determine the outcome of the entire case and the path you will take in Immigration Court..”

— Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Lawyer

During the master calendar hearing (MCH) the Immigration Judge will review the charges against the immigrant and ask him or her to admit or deny each one. The judge will also: … Set the date of the individual merits hearing (where the immigrant will present arguments, witnesses and other evidence).

Everyone with an immigration court case should receive a Notice to Appear. … If you have a Notice to Appear, the Immigration Judge will ask you if it contains correct information. If you tell the Judge the information is correct, the Judge will order you deported unless you have a defense to deportation.

How to Prepare for Your MCH

You will first receive a Notice to Appear (“NTA”), which will specify the date and place of your MCH. Under normal circumstances (without any COVID-19 adjustments), you must personally attend your MCH, even if your lawyer attends as well.

You may bring family members with you to the court. Make sure that they have legal immigration status. Otherwise, they may be arrested. It is not a good idea to bring children. Dress appropriately, in clean, neat, relatively conservative clothes.

Arrive on time at your MCH. If you are absent, or even late, you could be ordered deported “in absentia” (due to your absence). Or, the IJ might deny your legal claims or defenses. Arriving early is a particularly wise idea because going through a federal security checkpoint can take a while.

Try to find out ahead of time how your local immigration court operates. Bring important documents with you: your identification documents (passports, a driving license), your NTA (or another “hearing notice” that directed you to come to court), and any original documents that might be helpful at this preliminary stage (based on your lawyer’s suggestion). Also bring your personal calendar, because the IJ will schedule deadlines in your case.

During a typical MCH, you will be before the IJ for about five to 20 minutes only, although you might be in court for several hours (including time to check in and wait). Plan accordingly.

master calendar hearing

Forms of Relief

At the Master Calendar Hearing in a deportation case, the Immigration Judge will ask what relief you will be seeking in the event that the Immigration Judge finds you removable. In that case, there are several forms of relief in the deportation hearing which are available. They could include adjustment of status, registry, cancellation of removal for lawful permanent residents, cancellation of removal for non permanent residents, asylum, convention against torture, 212(c), withholding of removal, various waivers, citizenship or termination of proceedings.

immigration relief

Don’t Admit to the allegations of crimes. It is the burden of U.S. Immigration to prove you are inadmissible because of those crimes. It is not your burden to admit to the crime.

Brian Lerner Deportation Lawyer

By Brian D. Lerner, Immigration Lawyer & Deportation Attorney

I am an Immigration Attorney I help with all US Immigration Law. Please see my profile at I have been a licensed attorney since 1992 and started the Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC. My practice consists of Immigration and Nationality Law and everything involved with and regarding immigration and deportation and citizenship. Regarding Immigration Law, in 2000, I passed a rigorous examination and extensive experience requirements by the State Bar of California, Board of Legal Specialization. Iam now about 1 of only 150 Certified Specialists in Immigration and Nationality Law from a field of almost 200,000 attorneys. The Immigration Law part of the Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC handles cases arising from business visas, work permits, Green Cards, non-immigrant visas, deportation, citizenship, appeals and all areas of immigration. The Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC does EB-5 Investor Visas, H-1B Specialty Occupation, L-1 Intracompany Transferee, E-2 Treaty Investor, E-1 Treaty Trader, O-1 Extraordinary Ability among others. We also do K-1 Fiancee and K-3 Spouse Visas. Regarding immigrant visas for the Green Card, we do PERM and advanced degree PERM, Family Petitions, and Extraordinary Alien Petitions. In addition to affirmative petitions, we represent people in people in deportation and removal hearings, including political asylum, withholding of removal, and convention against torture cases. I received my B.S. Degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis on Computer Information Systems, from the University of Southern California. I graduated from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law with a Juris Doctorate degree. I have argued Petitions for Review and direct appeals all over the U.S. I am admitted to the United States Supreme Court, the California Supreme Court and the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the 1st - 11th Circuits. Please send me a note with your questions and I will be happy to help. The Law Offices of Brian D. Lerner, APC helps people from all over California, the United States and the world. Specialties:Immigration Attorney, Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law Our national deportation law firm will help with any removal case anywhere in the U.S. Our deportation attorneys have been providing deportation defense for nearly 30 years. Our immigration attorneys will appear with you in all immigration court appearances. Of course this will include the initial or master calendar hearing. Laws and regulations are changing all the time. Winning a deportation hearing takes years of experience. There are multiple grounds on what makes you removable from the U.S. If you are in immigration detention, our national immigration law firm can prepare and argue a motion for bond redetermination to get you out. We can also argue and submit during trial all the necessary evidence to try to win a cancellation of removal case. Even if you lose in immigration court, we can try to appeal the case to the board of immigration appeals.

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