Houston Immigration Court Overview in Immigration cases were put on hold during the pandemic and have only recently resumed. Judges are now tackling a backlog of cases.
Houston immigration lawyers help clients apply for green cards and visas. They also fight for their rights in deportation proceedings.
Immigration judges determine whether a non-citizen is eligible to remain in the United States. They also decide what relief, if any, the person is entitled to.
Located on Smith Street, the court is split between two different buildings, Continental Center II and Mickey Leland Federal Building. When you receive a hearing notice, be sure to make note of the location as it will impact your arrival time. Ensure that you arrange to arrive well in advance of your scheduled hearing time to allow for public health protocols and security screenings.
Houston Immigration Court has nine judges that handle cases involving foreign born individuals who are charged by the Department of Homeland Security with violating immigration law. While immigration court hearings are civil and not criminal, having a qualified Houston immigration attorney by your side can greatly increase the likelihood of a successful case outcome.
Immigration courts follow strict public health procedures and require that visitors wear face coverings in all EOIR spaces. It is also important to remember that staff may ask you to move or leave an area in order to maintain appropriate social distancing and facilitate hearings.
The immigration court is open Monday through Friday. However, the court is closed on holidays. Please check the website for a list of holiday closures.
The Houston Immigration Court is a part of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) under the Department of Justice. EOIR is an agency that adjudicates cases fairly, expeditiously and uniformly. It does so under delegated authority from the Attorney General of the United States.
The EOIR is also responsible for providing legal representation to non-detained immigrants in removal proceedings in Immigration Court. Only 35 percent of people who appear in Immigration Court have paid legal representation, 2 percent have pro-bono lawyers and 63 percent are self-represented. In most cases, it is important to have legal representation when you go to the Immigration Court. Shenandoah’s experienced Immigration attorneys can assist you in your case to ensure that you get the best result. We will help you navigate the complex and stressful process of obtaining a US visa or defending yourself against deportation in removal proceedings.
The Houston Immigration Court is the chief immigration court that handles non-detained cases in Houston. It is part of the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge under the Department of Justice. Unlike criminal proceedings, immigration court hearings are civil proceedings. Therefore, the Sixth Amendment right to counsel does not apply. As a result, it is important to have an experienced attorney represent you in your case.
Immigration judges have started hearing detained cases again since the courts reopened, but the backlog remains. Cortina notes that the problem will not be resolved until more funding is available to hire more immigration judges.
When visiting the court, you will need to pass through a security screening each time. This includes a metal detector and handbag search. You may also be asked to remove your shoes. Food and cameras are not allowed in the building. In addition, strict public health protocols are in place, including wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing.
In addition to the security protocols, public health procedures must also be followed when visiting a Houston Immigration Court. This includes wearing a face covering and maintaining social distancing. All visitors must also comply with any laws or policies regarding accessing a federal building.
While the non-detained immigration courts reopened this month, many people still need to wait years for their cases to be heard. Cortina says resources are the biggest issue, and more judges are needed to reduce the backlog.
He also believes that it would help if the federal government stopped using deportation as punishment for illegal behavior. He said that it is important to remember that deportation has a significant effect on individuals and families. This includes impacting children, siblings, and grandparents. It can also have a ripple effect on the community. This is why he thinks the local community needs to push for bold action from the federal government to solve these problems.