MASTER CALENDAR CHECKLIST FOR THE IMMIGRATION JUDGE
THE PRO SE RESPONDENT
1. Go on the record, that is, turn on the tape recorder,
for each master calendar hearing session.
2. Open the hearing:
a. State the nature of the hearing as a master calendar
b. State the name of the respondent and file number
from the Notice to Appear (NTA)
c. State the date of the hearing, the place, and
your own name
d. State the names of the attorneys
e. State the name of the sworn immigration court
3. Address the respondent:
a. What language you speak and understand best?
b. What language did you first speak growing up
as a small child?
c. Place the respondent under oath
d. What is your true name?
4. Verify service of the NTA
a. Show the NTA to the respondent and ask him or
her if he received a copy
b. If the respondent states that he or she did not
get a copy of the NTA, supply one.
c. Mark the NTA as Exhibit 1.
5. Explain the nature of the removal hearing and
the contents of the NTA
6. Verify the respondent’s address
a. Explain the address reporting requirement to
the respondent and furnish the blue Form EOIR 33
7. Explain the consequences of failing to appear
in future hearing
a. Specify to the respondent the forms of relief
that will be lost for a period of 10 years if he or she fails to appear
for the upcoming hearing. Mention specifically adjustment of status,
change of status, cancellation of removal, voluntary departure and
8. Explain to the respondent the right to counsel
a. Stress that volunteer counsel may be able to
represent the respondent free of charge if he or she is without funds
to retain the services of an attorney
b. Give the respondent the legal assistance office
list for your jurisdiction and, if the respondent lives outside your
jurisdiction, furnish the legal assistance office list for his home
c. Ask the respondent if he or she understands the
explanation of the right to counsel
d. Then ask the respondent if he or she wishes a
postponement to find an attorney.
e. If the respondent chooses to take a postponement
to find an attorney, stress to him or her the necessity of contacting
all of the offices on the legal assistance office list.
9. If the respondent declines counsel, proceed with
the hearing by explaining to the respondent the rights to object to
evidence, to cross-examine witnesses, and to present evidence and
witnesses, and to speak in his or her own behalf.
10. Get a pleading to the NTA, asking the respondent
to admit or deny each factual allegation and charge
a. The charge must be explained to the respondent
in non-technical language
b. Ask the respondent if he or she understands the
charge, then ask if the charge is admitted or denied
11. Ask the respondent if he or she has anything
to say or present in defense
a. Explain to the respondent that this means to
either present at this time or to tell you about if the items are
not present, either witnesses, papers or documents which might tends
to show that the charge in the case is not correct or which might
show that the respondent has any right to be in the United States.
In addition, ask the respondent if he or she has anything to say in
his or her defense
b. Consider whatever defense the respondent presents
and then make a ruling as to whether or not the charge is sustained
12. Relief from removal and deportation
a. Examine the respondent to determine what remedies
against deportation may be available for him or her
b. What is your age?
c. Are you legally married? If so, what is the citizenship
status of your spouse? If your spouse is an American citizen or an
immigrant, did he or she file visa petition on your behalf?
(1). If a visa petition has been filed, ask the
respondent if he or she has any proof of the filing and, if not, ask
Government counsel if the government immigration file shows a filing
(2). Ask if the visa petition has been approved
by the Government and, if so, is the respondent eligible to apply
in the removal hearing for section 245 adjustment of status?
d. Were your parents or grandparents ever United
(1). If so, determine the facts necessary to ascertain
whether the respondent may have acquired or derived United States
citizenship through parentage
(2). If there is a citizenship issue, furnish the
respondent the Form N-600 Application for Certificate of Citizenship
and tell the respondent to complete it according to the instructions
and gather the documents called for in the application. Tell the respondent
to file the original application and documents with the DHS and also
file with the court a copy of the application and documents. This
will give the judge an accurate blueprint of the nature of the claim
e. Have you any children or stepchildren who are
either United States citizens or lawful permanent resident immigrants?
(1). If yes, learn the ages of the children and
determine whether the mother or mothers of the children were ever
United States citizens or lawful permanent residents as this would
be germane to whether the respondent could apply for cancellation
of removal as a nonpermanent resident
f. In what year in your life did you first come
to the United States?
(1). This information is relevant to the question
of cancellation of removal eligibility.
(2) If the respondent’s time in this country
indicates possible eligibility for cancellation of removal, interrogate
him or her with regard to any departures from the United States and
whether or not he or she has been the subject of any prior removal
or deportation hearing or whether he or she has been arrested by immigration
officers in this country and returned to his or her home a country
without an immigration court hearing, as this is relevant to the question
of physical presence continuity under the cancellation of removal
g. Have you ever been convicted of any crimes?
(1). Convictions are relevant to the issue of relief
and the Government attorney at this point should be asked whether
the Government file shows any criminal record for the respondent.
If yes, the attorney should be asked to read of those convictions
and this information should be translated to the respondent and he
or she should be asked if that is his or her true record.
h. What is your occupation?
(1). Bear in mind that some respondents may have
occupations that qualify them for immigration based upon a labor certification.
Ask the respondent if he or she has ever received a labor certification
from the United States Department of Labor and, if so, has his or
her employer filed the Form I-140 visa petition on his or her behalf
(2) If a visa petition has been filed, ascertain
the status of the petition
13. Explain to the respondent what apparent remedies
are available to allow him to avoid an order of removal and deportation.
14. If the alien is eligible for a remedy that requires
a written application, furnish the application to the alien and tell
him or her to return to an upcoming master calendar with the application
completed. Explain the filing procedure and the procedure of registering
15. If the alien is not eligible for any relief,
make a decision so finding and explain to the alien about the right
16. If the alien is eligible only for voluntary departure,
explain to the alien the two types and inquire which type he or she
chooses, pre-conclusion or conclusion.
a. A voluntary departure can be on a summary written
form if the alien did not contest the facts and the charge in the
NTA, there are no issues of law or fact present if all was admitted,
and the alien made no defense to the charge. Otherwise, an oral decision
must be dictated.