Do I have to testify in immigration court? 3 Answers as of August 23, 2010

I got a notice saying that I have to attend an immigration court master hearing. Am I legally required to appear? Do I have to testify. This has to do with a US Citizenship and Immigration claim of a sham marriage. I have no criminal record and am going to request voluntary departure.

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Pacifica Legal Services
Pacifica Legal Services | Floyd Fernandez
I will tell you that your summons to appear to the master hearing is required. Failure to appear will be taken by the Immigration Judge, as with the Justice Department attorneys, as a refusal to answer the allegations against you, and a relinquishment giving up of your petition/application rights under law to obtain your immigration benefit your green card. The Judge will issue an order against you denying your claim and ordering immediate removal, disallowing voluntary departure, with at least a 10 year ban. And since sham marriage has occurred, it could even be a 20-year or permanent ban from ever being allowed to seek and obtain a visa to the USA, of any kind.

You are not simply required to gain voluntary departure. That is an option that you can ask for as an alternative to forced removal if your application for adjustment of status is denied. You still have the option to pursue your application in court, which will be, not at the master calendar hearing, but at the evidentiary hearing that will happen after your case is set for formal trial at the master calendar hearing. You have options, and if you want to pursue them, you may get in touch with me.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/23/2010
Law Offices of Juan Dotson
Law Offices of Juan Dotson | Juan Dotson
Yes, you must appear. If you fail to appear, the court can deport you in absentia. If you are conceding removal, then you may not have to talk in court. You should have an attorney assist you with your case in order to avoid or minimize the possibility of criminal charges (submitting perjured documents to USCIS) being filed.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 8/18/2010
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