A master calendar hearing, also known as simply MCH, is the first immigration hearing in a removal, or deportation. You will receive a Notice to Appear, NTA, along with the date, time, and location of your hearing. You must attend the hearing, but it is advisable for your immigration attorney to attend with you. Preparing for a master calendar hearing is necessary in order to be ready for the process.

What to Expect

The MCH is a preliminary hearing where the judge will review your case and determine how it will move forward. Dates for future hearings and deadlines for paperwork submission will be scheduled. If the judge has any questions, they will be asked of you at this time. It is helpful to have your attorney present with you at the MCH to ensure that everything is properly handled. It is important to note that no decisions will be made at this hearing, and you will not be required to present witnesses. The purpose of the MCH is only to decide how to move forward.

Prepare for a MCH

A MCH is a court hearing so you are expected to dress appropriately for court. Arrive early because it could take a few minutes to park and get to the courtroom.  You need to check in to inform them that you are present. There will be other cases heard on the same day and your case will be called, usually using your alien registration number. If you are late, or do not show up, the judge may immediately request a removal. If you need an interpreter, let the judge know and one will be provided to you. It is essential that you completely understand what is being communicated during the hearing.

During the Hearing

The judge will refer to the charges listed in your NTA, Notice to Appear. This lists the reason for the request for removal. You will be asked to respond to the charges, which is usually done with a yes or no answer. Consult with your attorney before you respond, so you are certain that you are making the best decision. Another court date will then be set where you will be able to fully respond to the charges and present evidence and witnesses if necessary. Issues regarding deportation can be very complex and may have a long-term impact on you and your family. For this reason, it is best to discuss the situation with an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as you receive any type of notice of deportation.

This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Preparing for a Master Calendar Hearing, or other Immigration Law matters, please feel free to contact Phil D. Ortega at  480.461.5330, log on to udallshumway.com,  or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.