Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents recently have been issuing “dummy” immigration court notices to immigrants. The notices contain court dates that fall on weekends, holidays, and on dates that do not exist, such as September 31st. Times stated on the court notices also are inaccurate, as they may fall outside of regular business hours or in the middle of the night. ICE is issuing these false court dates to comply with a federal court ruling stating that all Notices to Appear (NTAs) must contain court dates.
Before the court ruling, NTAs often contained no court dates, merely stating “to be announced” or “TBA.” These notices included no court dates because there was no mechanism for coordinating efforts by ICE and the immigration court system. Although the court ruling required that all NTAs include dates, there still is no communication between ICE and the court system. Rather than waiting for the implementation of any such system, ICE has proceeded with the faulty NTAs to speed up the immigration court process and cut off eligibility for cancellation of removal sooner. Cancellation of removal is a form of relief available to some immigrants who have been residing in the U.S. for ten consecutive years.
Even worse, although the dates and times on the notices are false, the NTAs themselves are not false. If immigrations do not show up as ordered, even if there is no chance that their cases will be heard, they risk deportation. Therefore, immigrants often must arrange to travel great distances to avoid removal, even though they have no valid court dates. In these cases, they will receive a future date and time to appear, which will require additional travel and time spent waiting for a court date.
The immigration lawyers of Peek & Toland have handled the immigration cases of countless individuals and businesses facing immigration-related issues. We are here to protect your rights and advocate on your behalf to get the outcome that you are seeking. Call our office today at (512) 474-4445 to set up an appointment with our immigration attorneys.