The merits hearing follows a master calendar hearing and typically is a formal hearing where the facts of an asylum claim are tried.
An asylum trial may last several sessions. It may also take several years before all parties can meet.
The defendant in an asylum case is called respondent. Respondent's lawyer may have several witnesses to call in or she may only have the respondent himself to testify to all the facts from Respondent's side.
The facts may have been divided to two sets of disputed & undisputed. However the two adversary lawyers ( Respondent lawyers and lawyer for DHS (Department of Homeland Security) may mutually agree to the truthfulness of certain facts.
Some of those undisputed facts and in case the respondent has entered the US through a valid Visa maybe the port of entry, the date of entry, and the passport or visa number.
At the beginning, Respondent attorney will give an Opening Statement Explaining in Summary “why Respondent is eligible to receive Asylum”.
Second, Respondent will be “Direct Examined” by his own attorney about his story. The Respondent should answer questions truthfully & consistently. Usually there is a preparation with Respondent on this part.
After Respondent has said his story, the DHS trial Lawyer will start asking questions from the Respondent. Government attorney will try to disqualify the Respondent's testimony by proving his case is false. And that the Respondent and/or his testimony is not credible.
At anytime the Immigration Judge (IJ) may interrupt and ask questions.
Respondent's attorney at the end will make the closing statement and tries to address all the unanswered questions and clarify the Respondent's ambiguities and restate the reason client is qualified for the asylum based on the asylum laws.
The judge then makes his/her decision while sitting at the bench or will announce further review is needed for the decision.
Depending an outcome of the decision, Respondent Trial Attorney or Government's Trial Attorney can appeal the decision within 30 days to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
Most applicants coming from oppressive countries like Iran, have a strong case to deserve to receive an asylum. They usually come through a valid visa and have followed all the rules and regulations and have been scrutinized by the US embassy and federal investigatory organizations for background check.
They have also passed the clearance check by the hardworking officers at the Customs & Board protection. Being unfamiliar with the court procedures and not being able to represent himself to the best of their abilities calls for a strong court room representation.
Calling for a caring; skilled Court Trial Attorney for advise and representation is the best way one can guarantee initial steps towards a fair Court Room Trial.
This is an immigration legal blog. It is not intended to be used as legal advice. And dos not create Attorney-Client Relationship.
For further information please contact the law offices of attorney Ramona Kennedy.
Ramona Kennedy (Attorney) received her Jurisprudence Doctorate in America and is a licensed attorney in California (USA). Ramona Kennedy is a member of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA). Ramona Kennedy is fluent in English and Farsi (Persian).
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