I Received a Notice to Appear (NTA); What Happens Now?

If you received a Notice to Appear, it means that the United States government is taking the first steps to order your removal from the country. While you are certainly not alone — The New York Times reports that more than 250,000 people were deported from the United States in 2017 — receiving a Notice to Appear is stressful and intimidating.

It is crucial that you have a basic understanding of the process so that you know what to expect and how to respond. Here, our experienced Los Angeles deportation defense lawyer explains what happens after you receive a Notice to Appear.

Never Ignore a Notice to Appear (NTA)

Perhaps the biggest mistake you can make is ignoring a Notice to Appear. If you fail to take action, the government can — and probably will — ask the judge to enter a removal order against you. In that situation, the only thing the government needs to prove to obtain a removal order is that you actually received the Notice to Appear.

If you already failed to appear, you need to contact a Los Angeles immigration attorney right away. You may still have legal options available — potentially including filing a Motion to Reopen. However, you need to be very careful regarding how you proceed in this manner. Please do not take any action without first speaking to an immigration lawyer.

The ‘Master Calendar’ Hearing Comes First

In most deportation/removal cases, the first hearing is called a ‘Master Calendar’ hearing. Essentially, this is a relatively short, procedural hearing in which the parties will meet with a judge to determine how exactly the case will proceed.

You will not be deported at a Master Calendar hearing. However, in some cases, a person may be detained. While most people are not detained, it does happen in some cases. If your loved one has already been detained during their deportation case, it is imperative that you consult with a top-rated deportation lawyer immediately.  

Build a Defense to Deportation

A Notice to Appear is not a deportation order. It is only the first step that the government takes to initiate removal proceedings. Not everyone who receives a Notice to Appear will eventually be deported. In every case, the burden is on the government to prove removability before an immigration judge. If the government fails to meet its burden, a person cannot be ordered removed.

There are many defenses to deportation. Whether or not any of these defenses are applicable to your case depends entirely on your specific circumstances. As soon as you receive a Notice to Appear, you should speak to an immigration lawyer who can help you explore every available option to remain in the United States and build the most effective defense to deportation.  

Our Los Angeles Deportation Defense Lawyer Can Help

At the Law Office of Joshua L. Goldstein, PC, we fight aggressively to protect the rights of our clients. If you or your loved one received a Notice to Appear, you need a strong legal advocate on your side. To schedule a confidential appointment with an experienced immigration lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact our Los Angeles office at (213) 262-2000. We serve communities throughout Southern California.