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You might find yourself in the uncomfortable situation of having been summoned to appear in immigration court.
The immigration court is responsible for judging immigration cases. Not all immigration processes happen through an immigration court, however. You will only be required to appear in immigration court if you are charged with allegedly violating immigration law. Most commonly, it is when you are alleged to be in the U.S. illegally.
The little bit of good news is immigration court hearings are civil administrative proceedings, not criminal cases. But if you are required to appear in immigration court, you will need an immigration attorney. Unfortunately immigration attorney fees can be quite expensive, but you can’t defend your case without one.
In immigration hearings, immigration judges basically decide whether you are allowed to stay in the U.S. or whether you must be deported or removed. You can also be granted relief or protection from removal by an adjustment of status, asylum, or other remedies.
If you are in the Boston area, you will most likely appear in the Boston Immigration Court. Below are some useful details around the Boston Immigration Court operations and what to expect when you arrive.
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Yes – there is an immigration court in Boston. The Boston Immigration Court falls under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. If you are in the Boston area, your case is likely to be heard in the Boston Immigration Court.
The Boston Immigration Court is actually one of the first immigration courts to reopen for in-person hearings after initial closures due to the COVID pandemic. It is even holding “master calendar hearings” which bring large groups of people into the court.
Naturally, Boston-area immigration attorneys are concerned that opening court and allowing large groups of people in might be unsafe in the current Coronavirus pandemic. They are hoping their clients will be given the option to call into the proceedings instead of appearing in person. Either way, the Boston Immigration Court has health protocols in place to ensure you are protected if you have to appear in court.
Remember, if you need to attend an immigration court hearing, you will need to get an immigration attorney.
The Boston Immigration Court is located in the John F. Kennedy Building in central Boston. You can enter the street address onto Google Maps and get directions to the building.
The street address is 15 Sudbury St, Boston, MA 02203, United States.
The Court is located on the 3rd floor and you will have to go through security and public health protocols before entering.
The Boston Immigration Court is open Monday to Friday except for federal holidays. You will be able to access the Court building from 7:50 am to 4:30 pm. The Office of Personnel Management published a list of the observed dates of every federal holiday by year. You can find this list published online.
Note that the window hours differ from the building hours. The Boston Immigration Court has window hours from 8 am-12 pm, and 12.30 pm to 4 pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. On Friday, the window hours are 81m-12pm and 12.30 pm to 3.30 pm. The busiest time tends to be during the early morning rush hour.
When the Boston Immigration Court is forced to close due to inclement weather or another emergency, you can check their operating hours on their Twitter or Facebook accounts.
You can reach the Boston Immigration court by dialling 617-565-3080.
This number should not be used to fax submissions. These submissions will be discarded without consideration of the document or notice to the sender.
The Boston Immigration court is situated in a federal building. When you visit the Boston Immigration Court, you are required to comply with the relevant laws and policies governing access to the building. If you do not comply, the authorities may deny you access or even ask you to leave.
If you are unsure about any relevant policies or laws related to entry, contact the building or facility in advance.
During its normal operations, most immigration court proceedings are open to the public. This means family and friends can enter the building to observe the court proceedings. Due to new public health protocols, however, authorities request that you do not bring people with you into the building unless they are required to be present for your hearing. The immigration court can limit entry into the building.
You also need to follow strict behaviour guidelines when you are observing immigration court proceedings. You are not allowed to use any electronic devices in the immigration court. Specifically, you are not allowed to make video or sound recordings of hearings or take photographs while observing a hearing.
Since it has reopened for in-person hearings the Boston Immigration Court has put procedures in place to implement the guidelines provided by public health officials. Strict public health procedures are in place for your safety.
These procedures include wearing a face-covering in the building at all times and observing social distancing (maintaining a distance of six feet from other people).
The immigration court officers aim to maintain appropriate social distancing while facilitating hearings. To make this happen, you may be asked to move or leave a particular area. You may also be assigned a specific seat. If instructed to sit in a particular location, do not switch seats.
Waiting times to enter the building may also be significantly longer than usual. Make arrangements to arrive in advance of your hearing so that you arrive at the courtroom on time.
If you are based in the Boston area and need to appear in an immigration court, you are likely to appear in the Boston Immigration Court. This is where you will defend your legal presence in the U.S.
Likely, your immigration hearing will still happen in person. Many new public health procedures have been put in place to ensure your protection. Make sure you arrange to arrive well in advance of your hearing so you can navigate all of the new protocols. This might take longer than usual, so get there early to ensure you arrive at the courtroom on time.