Remember: It's Okay to Deny the NTA
Arguably the most important moment in the removal proceedings of any respondent is the master calendar hearing. Think about it. Not only is it the first chance for your client to see the immigration judge, OCC counsel, and the courtroom, not to mention getting a feel for the process, but it is also where the charges contained in the Notice to Appear ("NTA") are discussed.
I have been guilty at times of glancing over the NTA and admitting the pleadings and conceding the charge(s) of inadmissibility/removability as quickly as possible so I could get on with filing my applications for relief; especially in cases where I was eager to get to relief due to what I felt was a strong case or a client's desire to push the case forward.
I can't think of any cases where I've seriously prejudiced a client in doing so, but I certainly have found myself more concerned about the application for relief than holding DHS to its burden of proving inadmissibility/removability. It's also caused health doses of retrospection.
That being said, I seriously doubt I am alone in having done so. I often sit and observe other hearings in the court room instead of standing up and asking to go first. I've done this since I was a baby attorney.
To read more, check out Nathan Bogart's Blog, "Laws with Intended Consequences".
Nathan R. Bogart is the managing immigration attorney at Joyce Law Firm. He focuses exclusively on immigration matters, including removal defense, appeals, family petitions, citizenship & humanitarian options.
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