1. Where is the Dallas Immigration Court?
The Dallas Immigration Court is located in downtown Dallas on the 10th floor of the Earl Cabell Federal Building. The address is 1100 Commerce Street, Suite 1060, Dallas, TX 75242. Enter the building through the doors facing Commerce Street and go through security. There are two sets of elevators in the lobby. Go to the elevators on the right after clearing security. The Dallas immigration court is not particularly well marked, so when you get to the 10th floor, look for signs to Suite 1060, or ask someone in the hallway for directions.
2. Hearing Hotline
The immigration court system has a “hearing hotline.” The phone number is 1-800-898-7180. You can call this phone number to find out things like the date, time, and location of your next hearing. The hotline will usually tell you which judge you have as well. In some cases, the hotline can provide you the status of your case. The information on the hotline is just a recording, but it can still be very helpful.
3. Who are the Judges?
Judge Ozmun- retired from United States Navy after 33 years of service. Attended law school at the University of Oklahoma. Immigration Judge since 2002.
Judge Sims- former special agent with the U.S. Department of State. Former INS trial attorney and special assistant U.S. Attorney. Immigration Judge since 1997.
Judge Baird- former police officer, prosecutor, and state court judge in Georgia. Immigration Judge since 2009.
Judge Nugent- former Air Force pilot and examining attorney for Delta Title Corporation in New Orleans. Immigration Judge since 2005.
Judge Kimball- former INS trial attorney and EEOC judge. Immigration Judge since 2011.
4. What does the court do?
The Dallas Immigration court hears cases to decide whether an immigrant can stay in the United States or must be deported. You can represent yourself or hire a lawyer. Honestly, it’s usually not a good idea to represent yourself. Click here for the top 5 reasons to hire an immigration lawyer. The Dallas Immigration court will not appoint a lawyer for you, or recommend a lawyer to you. So, make sure to do your research and pick a good one. Check out this article on how to choose a good immigration lawyer.
The immigration judges don’t care if traffic is bad. One immigration judge recently said “You know how you fix that? Leave earlier.” If they can get there on time, so can you.
There is no special parking for immigration court, so you will have to park somewhere in downtown Dallas. Since there is limited parking in downtown, make sure to arrive early. There is a large parking lot one block west of the Earl Cabell federal building, next to McDonalds. There is also a fair amount of metered parking in downtown Dallas. If you are going to park at a meter, you should probably bring someone with you to court so they can go downstairs to feed the meter if your case takes longer than expected.
6. How long will my court hearing take?
It depends on a lot of things. If you have an attorney, you will get to go before everyone else that doesn’t have an attorney. If you do not have an attorney, you should plan on being at the court anywhere from 2-6 hours, depending on how fast the cases move.
7. Keep your address updated with the court
You need the court’s address, and they need yours! If you move while you are in court, you must file Form EOIR-33 (available online and at the court) within 5 business days of your move. The judges will get upset if you don’t file this form, so do it!
8. Be respectful
Being a jerk is never helpful. Being a jerk to an immigration judge is just stupid. Be respectful to everyone you meet at the court. Even while you are on the elevators, in the lobby, or in the bathroom, be respectful to everyone. The person next to you might well be your immigration judge or one of the government’s attorneys.
9. Be Quiet
Shhhh…..Everything that happens in immigration court is being digitally recorded. So be quiet when you are in court. Also, make SURE your cell phone is turned off. The immigration judge does not think your ring tone is cool.
10. No Food/Drink/Gum
The court does not allow food or drink in the courtrooms. Gum is food. There is no quicker way to earn an immigration judge’s wrath than to chew gum in court. Be smart. Spit it out.