Atlanta Immigration Court
Author: Jameel Manji, Founder, Manji Law, P.C.
Mr. Manji founded Manji Law in 2016 to follow his passion of helping people navigate the complicated immigration system. Mr. Manji graduated from Georgia State University College of Law and received Master of Taxation from the Georgia State’s J. Mack Robinson College of Business. Published on: May 31, 2018, Last Updated on: June 14, 2019.
Navigating the Atlanta Immigration Court can be very difficult as there are many agencies involved and lots of moving parts. This page will walk you through the basics of what to expect if you’ve been detained or received a notice to appear in Atlanta Immigration Court. A good immigration attorney will review your situation and help you prepare so that you have the best chance of winning your case.
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The Atlanta Immigration Court
There are two immigration courts in Atlanta, GA. Both of these Courts fall under the jurisdiction of the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. Currently, these Atlanta courts are two of the fifty-eight throughout the U.S.
Atlanta Immigration Court is responsible for deciding immigration cases from the state of Georgia and other states of the southeastern United States. Under the authority of the U.S. Attorney General, immigration court, like the one in Atlanta, GA, administers federal immigration laws by conducting immigration court proceedings, appellate reviews, and administrative hearings.
Administrative hearings, or removal proceedings, occur when an immigration court determines that an individual (the respondent) should be deported, from Atlanta, GA, and the U.S. An experienced immigration attorney can be of great help during removal proceedings.
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What is needed to file form I-485?
In order to obtain permanent residence in Atlanta, Georgia, or any other part of the United States, the I-485 form, along with supporting evidence, must be submitted to USCIS. Supporting evidence is requested documentation that will help USCIS approve the change in residency status.
The supporting evidence required for any applicant between the ages of 14 and 79, includes two identical photographs of the applicant, a medical and immunization report (form I-693), and other supporting forms. Additional supporting evidence includes:
- Copy of a passport
- Birth certificate
- Police clearances
- Proof of lawful entrance into the U.S.
Along with the Form I-485 and supporting evidence, the applicant must also send in an application fee, which may change depending on the applicant’s age and other factors. Without the fee, the application will not be processed.
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Immigration Court Atlanta Details
The main location of the Atlanta Immigration Court is on Ted Turner Boulevard.
180 Ted Turner Drive SW, Suite 241
Atlanta, GA 30303
West Peachtree is the new annex location of the second Atlanta Immigration Court, created to help with the backlog of immigration cases.
Peachtree Summit Federal Building
401 West Peachtree St. NW (Floor 26)
Atlanta, GA 30308
To get information related to cases, you should use the electronic phone system of the Executive Office for Immigration Review or the EOIR, available in English and Spanish. Users can dial 1-800-898-7180 for updates on the immigration status of their Atlanta immigration case. It will give information on:
• The date, time, and location of your next immigration hearing.
• Immigration judge’s decision.
• Information on filing, immigration appeals, and case processing.
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Immigration Hearing Atlanta
The process of an immigration court hearing in Atlanta, GA, or elsewhere in the US is as follows:
Notice to Appear (an “NTA”) – This is a legal document given to a person suspected of entering the US illegally, remaining here past the expiration of their visa, or committing certain crimes (even if they are a legal citizen). It means that removal proceedings have been initiated against you.
Master Hearing – The respondent will enter a plea for the allegations. If they are eligible to apply for asylum or other relief from removal, they can request and apply for it. If denied, the immigration judge could order deportation.
Be aware that at your Master Hearing, the Atlanta Immigration Court must have an interpreter for you if you cannot speak and understand English well. If an interpreter is not present, you are allowed to request another hearing with an interpreter from the immigration judge. Similarly, if you do not have a lawyer, you are allowed to request that the immigration judge delays the hearing until you find an experienced immigration lawyer.
Immigration judges often allow respondents two weeks to find an attorney. Have in mind that immigration lawyers are not provided for the respondent in immigration cases as they are for defendants in criminal cases.
Merits Hearing – Also known as the Individual Hearing, the Merits Hearing is where the respondent may present evidence, testify to support their application, and call witnesses to testify on their behalf. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) attorneys argue against asylum for the respondent. During the hearing, witnesses will be cross-examined, and even the immigration court judge may ask questions. The Department of Homeland Security will ask questions and possibly call their own witnesses. When the hearing concludes, the immigration court judge will decide if they may stay, or they will be removed.
The immigration court judge makes the decision either orally during the hearing or in a letter sent to the respondent’s home. You have the option to appeal this decision. Immigration appeals must be filed within thirty days, in writing, and sent to the Board of Immigration Appeals.
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Immigration Bond Hearing Atlanta
Sometimes, immigrants will be detained at a detention center. Georgia is home to multiple detention centers, located in Atlanta, GA (Atlanta City), Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, and Irwin County Detention Center in Ocilla, Georgia. Immigrants held at a detention center may have to undergo immigration bond hearing to see if they can be granted a release.
To apply for your bond, see if ICE has already set a bond amount. If not, or if it is a large amount of money, you may request a bond hearing. The immigration judge will investigate your eligibility, ask preliminary questions, look at your community ties, see if you’re financially stable, look at the amount of time you have been in the U.S., and consider if you are a flight risk or a danger to others.
It is important to have a qualified attorney because a complete background check will be done. Any criminal history will be considered when determining if you are a danger to the community and should not be released. An immigration attorney can also negotiate a bond amount prior to the hearing and help you through the bond hearing process.
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Agencies Involved with Atlanta Immigration Court
The EOIR has the responsibility to decide immigration matters in the Atlanta Immigration Court, and throughout the United States. The EOIR is a department within the Department of Justice that enforces federal immigration laws and is run by a director who reports to the Attorney General.
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) processes petitions and applications for immigrants, such as visa petitions and asylum applications.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) eliminates border, economic, and security vulnerabilities. They are in charge of immigration enforcement and preventing terrorism by working with local and federal law enforcement agencies.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is a cabinet of the U.S. government that focuses on public security. ICE falls under the jurisdiction of the DHS.
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Criticism of Atlanta Immigration Court
Atlanta Immigration Court and detention centers have come under fire from immigrants’ rights advocates. When Emory University law students observed thirty-one immigration hearings in 2016, they noted the following:
Total disregard for legal arguments.
Inadequate interpretation services.
Bond requests not being considered on an individual basis.
Immigrants from detention centers are required to wear jumpsuits and shackles and are referred to as prisoners.
All of the Georgia immigrant detention centers are notorious for hazardous and unhealthy living conditions and inhumane treatment of detainees.
Atlanta Immigration Courts have an infamously high rate of denying asylum cases at 98%, so most people avoid the court. The immigration court system takes a hard line against immigration cases, so the odds of one being won is very low.
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Atlanta Immigration Resources
- Atlanta Deportation Lawyer
- Atlanta Immigration Court
- Complete Guide to I-485
- Folkston ICE Processing Center
- Georgia Immigration
- Georgia Immigration Detention Center
- Guide to I-765
- LaSalle Immigration Court
- How Long Does it Take to Bring a Spouse to the USA?
- Immigration Attorney Atlanta
- Irwin County Detention Center
- Stewart Detention Center
- The Hidden Impact of ICE Deportation