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Florence Executive Office for Immigration Review

Florence Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR)

The United States Department of Justice oversees the administrative law courts responsible for processing deportation cases, known as "removal proceedings."  The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) is the official name of the immigration court system, and the EOIR has individual immigration courts throughout the United States.  The Florence Immigration Court is one of two immigration courts in Arizona that processes deportation cases for detained immigrants.  The other court is located in Eloy, Arizona, and the Law Offices of Matthew H. Green handles deportation cases in each location.

Removal Proceedings

A deportation case begins when a deportation officer serves an immigrant with a document known as a Notice to Appear, or NTA.  The deportation officer delivers another copy of the NTA to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Chief Counsel, which acts as a prosecutor's office for deportation cases.  The Office of Chief Counsel files the NTA with the Immigration Court, which formally initiates removal proceedings against the immigrant.

Once removal proceedings begin, the court will schedule an initial Master Calendar Hearing, which is like a status conference.  At the Master Calendar Hearing, the immigration judge will advise the immigrant of his rights, explain what immigration violations he is accused of committing, and ask the immigrant how he would like to proceed.  If the individual in removal proceedings desires to simply deported to his country of origin, the immigration judge will enter a removal order.

However, people in removal proceedings have the right to contest their deportation, and they also have the right to hire an attorney to assist them with their defense.  Unlike criminal cases, there is no right to court-appointed counsel, so often times an immigrant must request a continuance of the master calendar hearing so that he can make arrangements to hire an attorney.  An immigration judge will normally allow a respondent, which is what the immigrant is called when he is in removal proceedings, at least one continuance of the Master Calendar Hearing if he is attempting to retain the services of an attorney.

If an immigrant in removal proceedings contests deportation, the case will usually be set for one or more Individual Calendar Hearing, also known as a "merits hearing."  A merits hearing can be scheduled if, for example, to contest the issue of removability--in other words, to argue that the alien is simply not deportable.  Normally, this kind of argument is made if there is a question about the effect of a criminal conviction.  Sometimes this kind of defense is also raised when a Lawful Permanent Resident (green card holder) is caught driving a vehicle that contains drugs across the border.

A merits hearing will also be scheduled when an immigrant, who has found to be deportable, applies for a waiver of deportation.  Waivers of deportation include Cancellation of Removal and Adjustment of Status.  Many immigrants in removal hearings also apply for asylum-based relief, and merits hearings are also scheduled in these situations.

The attorneys in our law firm have many years of combined experience representing detained immigrants in the Florence Immigration Court.  We regularly argue, and secure, our clients' release on bond in Florence, and we also represent our clients at their merits hearings in the Florence EOIR.