I have a court date, but is it really true?

By Attorney Cynthia Milian

About two months ago, our firm was hired to represent a client that was released on recognizance from a detention center. They were given a Notice to Appear in a non-detained court for January 31, 2019. From the moment we were hired, we called the 1-800 hotline and contacted the court several times to see if she had court scheduled. The 1-800 number did not have any record of her A (Alien) number nor did the court.

As the days passed, we were growing increasingly concerned because we needed to see if a motion to change venue should be filed to get the client’s case transferred to the court closest to her home. To add to the stress, the government shutdown and the court was closed, and it was difficult to get through to the Department of Homeland Security officers and attorneys.

Finally, a day before the hearing, we reached a trial attorney that notified us that that date was not a real hearing date. The trial attorney notified us that the date was merely a placeholder to comply with the Pereira requirements. After speaking with them and the confirming with the court, we decided that our client did not in fact have court on January 31, 2019. We told our client and they were relieved about this.

While it was a stressful situation for our firm, we advise that if you encounter such a situation where your Notice to Appear has a date and time and the court or 1-800 number cannot confirm if the hearing date is true, we suggest you confirm with your attorney whether to not attend or attend. If you have the means, do go to court because this could potentially mean that if you do not show up to court and there is in fact court scheduled for you, you can get an order of deportation in abstentia.

At the Powers Law Group, we always try to stay vigilant on the news and trends that are happening within the immigration realm. In times like today, it is especially important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney and to have their guidance during the pendency of your case whether in court or whether through an immigration office, such as USCIS. If you have any questions, please give us a call at 713-589-2085, our experienced attorneys are available to help you.

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