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The Federal Government Has Reopened…Do I Have to Go to Immigration Court?

Attorney for Houston Immigration Court.png

Note: This article was originally published on March 8, 2017 and revamped following the first Federal government shut down of 2019. The original post was “How Do I Know I Have a Court Date?”.

The Federal Government Has Reopened…Do I Have to Go to Immigration Court?

December 22,2018 was the beginning of the longest Federal government shutdown in U.S. history. The shut down lasted five weeks and resulted in the non-operation of several Federal government agencies—in whole or in part.

One of the Federal government agencies affected by the partial government shutdown was the Federal Immigration Courts. The detained docket of the immigration court resumed normal operations; meaning individuals in immigration custody would have their court dates as scheduled. But the non-detained docket was a different story.

The non-detained immigration court normally handles the deportation or removal cases for individuals not in immigration custody. The non-detained immigration court closed from December 22, 2018 to January 28, 2019.

The non-detained court did not hold any scheduled hearings, accept any filings, or provide any guidance regarding what to do about hearings missed during the government shutdown. This caused thousands of people to miss court dates—many, whom have already waited years for a court date.

Should I Go to My Immigration Court Date?

As of January 28, 2019 the detained and non-detained Immigration Court have resumed operations. If you have an upcoming court date it’s important to contact the particular court and/or check the automated system.

The Holland Law Firm,PLLC has several clients with court dates within the next week. Each judge has indicated the courts will be held as scheduled. The government shutdown will not delay these particular upcoming courts.

If you have an upcoming court don’t assume it has been rescheduled. Failure to attend the hearing may result in an order of removal or deportation.

What If My Court Date Was During the Shutdown?

If you’re a respondent on the non-detained docket and your court date was during the Federal government shutdown, the Executive Office of Immigration Review will automatically reschedule your court date. The court should mail the hearing notice to the address on file; however, you should be proactive your immigration process.

Can I Call About My Court Date?

The Executive Office for Immigration Review or EOIR has an automated phone system, which allows a respondent to confirm his or her hearing date, 24/7.

To confirm a hearing date by phone, call 1-800-898-7180 complete the following steps:

  1. Press 1 for instructions in English or 2 for instructions in Spanish.

  2. Press the nine digit a number or alien number.

  3. Confirm the alien number inserted is correct and press 1 to accept.

  4. Confirm the alien number matches the respondent's name and press 1 to accept.

Next, the individual may confirm his or her hearing date, identify any applications filed before the immigration court on your behalf, and hear certain appeal information. If your court date had not been updated, we recommend that you check back daily. The non-detained courts resumed operation on Monday, January 28, 2019. It may take time for each particular judge to reorganize and reschedule their docket.

What Do I Do If I Still Need More Information About My Immigration Court Hearing?

Knowing your immigration court date is only half the battle. It is important to consult an experienced immigration attorney regarding your case. Also, if your court date has been rescheduled take advantage of this opportunity to further prepare for your case.

Over time your circumstances or qualifications for certain immigration relief such as asylum, withholding of removal, permanent residency, or citizenship may change. The relief available in deportation court depends greatly on the specific facts about you and your case, including country of birth or citizenship, manner of entry into the United States, marital status, and more.

If you have any questions regarding your immigration case, court date, or how the 2018-2019 Federal government shutdown affected your case, give the Holland Law Firm, PLLC a call at (832) 328-7877 or submit an online form. We will be happy to answer any of your immigration questions.

Houston Immigration Attorney

Tatiauna Holland of the Holland Law Firm, PLLC is an experienced immigration attorney, who skillfully defends individuals facing deportation. She has years of experience assisting individuals apply for various forms of immigration relief, including adjustment of status (green card), asylum, naturalization and citizenship, and more.

Located in the Greenspoint Area of North Houston, the Holland Law Firm, PLLC is prepared to handle your immigration needs throughout Texas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County, and surrounding areas.

If you or your loved one is in removal proceedings or have concerns about your immigration status, contact the Holland Law Firm, PLLC at (832) 328-7877 to schedule a confidential consultation.

Related Blogs and Articles:

Worried About ICE Raids in Houston, February 2017

You Can't Just Get Deported. Learn the Truth About Removal Proceedings, September 2016

Due Process in Removal Proceedings, October 2016