If you are detained, you can expect to have your case decided in anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months; this is of course, depending upon the issues involved. If you are not detained you can expect that the case will take approximately 6 months to 2 years to be decided; again, the length of the case will vary depending upon the issues involved and the particular judge’s calendar.
Types of Calendar Dates
There are two types of dates given by the immigration court: a “master calendar” date and an “individual calendar” date. The “master calendar” is merely a status date and the “individual calendar” hearing is usually the final hearing date in the case. The “individual calendar” date is usually the date that the case is set for trial where testimony is heard by the Court.
Master Calendar Date
Master Calendar or Status Date: During a status date, you can expect that preliminary matters of the case will be discussed. The master calendar hearing gives your deportation attorney the opportunity to prepare for the individual hearing or trial date.
During a master calendar type of hearing, the judge will usually familiarize him or herself with the issues involved in the case and your immigration attorney will discuss with the judge what type of proof may be necessary. Further, your attorney may discuss with the judge whether any sort of waiver relief may be available for you, the Respondent. This type of date may also be given to allow your deportation attorney time to file motions or briefs. In certain cases this date may allow for you to get fingerprints completed.
Individual Calendar Date
Individual Calendar or Trial Date: In an “individual calendar” hearing, the court will expect the government to be ready to prove its case against you. At the same time, you must be ready to present testimony from witnesses, any another other evidence upon which you will rely to dispute the charges, and/or seek waiver relief if the charges are established by the government. Usually, at this hearing, the judge will render a decision and, thus, conclude your case.
How to Defend the Case
There are two primary goals of the deportation attorney defending a removal case.
First, and obvious to most immigration deportation attorneys, is to try to find a way to win the case based upon your situation. But not all deportation removal cases are easy to win. Therefore, a more complex strategy for winning the case becomes necessary.
In this instance, a good immigration deportation attorney will have a second goal in mind. This goal is to preserve any issues of fact and law for appeal in the event that, on appeal, your case can be distinguished from previous cases. This strategy requires your immigration deportation attorney know what legal issues are unsettled in the particular circuit in which the case sits and in what way they are unsettled.