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What happens in an "individual" removal hearing?

One type of removal hearing in the immigration context is an individual hearing. During an individual hearing, your case is the only one scheduled. Before the hearing, you (or your lawyer) will submit evidence (in the form of documents) that you want the judge to consider when reviewing your application.

The judge will allot several hours to consider your application for relief (that is, the benefit that you think you qualify for that would let you stay in the U.S., if granted). During the hearing, witnesses may testify for you. The witnesses’ testimony and the type of evidence you submit depend on what kind of application you submitted (that is, the benefit you are seeking).

Several things can happen at the end of the individual hearing. If the judge needs more evidence or testimony, another individual hearing or a later master calendar hearing may be scheduled. If the judge needs time to consider the evidence and testimony, they might issue a written decision later, rather than announce their decision at the end of the hearing.

Finally, if the judge decides, they may announce the decision at the end of the individual hearing. If the judge announces a decision at the end of the hearing, you should get a one-page “Summary Oral Decision.” But, if the judge plans to decide later, that decision will likely be several pages long, with the reasoning behind the decision explained in detail. 

This article gives insight on the steps to take for detained immigrants.


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