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Learn What Happens at Minneapolis - Saint Paul Immigration Court

Learn What Happens at Minneapolis - Saint Paul Immigration Court

Versión en español

Prepared by: The Advocates for Human Rights

Date: March 27, 2015

The Minnesota Children and Families Immigration Court Project is providing free legal consultation to any unaccompanied child or family group who wants to talk with a free lawyer, the first time they are in court. In Minnesota, there are free lawyers at court with Judge Castro on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.


How it works

After your hearing with the Judge there will be volunteer lawyers outside the courtroom, waiting to meet with you. If there is not a volunteer lawyer there, wait a moment, they might be busy helping other people. If you can’t wait, or you wait and a lawyer doesn’t come, you should call one of the agencies at the numbers below:

  • Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid (for Unaccompanied Children)
    • (612) 334-5970
    • Intake hours: M, 10:30-3:30 and Th 1:30-3:30
  • The Advocates for Human Rights (for Adults with Children)
    • (612) 341-9845
  • Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota (for residents of Southern Minnesota)
    • (800) 223-1368
    • Intake hours: M, T, W 12pm-1:30pm; Th 6-7:30pm. (no walk-ins)

These agencies are also listed on the free legal services list that the Judge gives every person who comes to court.

If you are able to meet with a volunteer lawyer at court, this is what will happen. The meeting will take about 30 – 45 minutes. The lawyer will ask your name, your address, your phone number, and information about who you are living with. The lawyer will ask you questions about when you came to the United States, how you traveled to the United States, why you want to live in the United States. The lawyer will ask if you are afraid to go back to your country, they will ask if anything bad or scary happened to you in your country or on the way to the United States. The lawyer will ask these questions so they can know more about your case, and be able to tell you if there is a way for you to stay legally in the United States. After the lawyer finishes asking you questions, they will answer your questions.

The lawyer you meet with is not going to be your lawyer at the next court. The lawyer is there to learn more about your case. This is the first step. The lawyer will take the information that you shared and review it with the offices that find free lawyers for people. Someone from one of those offices (the ones listed above) will either call you, to ask more questions about your case, or send you a letter. Those offices will tell you either “yes,” they will give you a free lawyer to go to court with you or “no,” they can’t give you a free lawyer. It might take a few weeks before they tell you “yes” or “no.” If you have another court date coming up and you have not gotten an answer about whether they will help or not, you should call the numbers above and ask about your case.

If you move, and you have a new address or place to get mail, it’s important to tell the court. Also if you move or your phone number changes, the offices might not be able to call or send mail to you; it is up to you to call the offices (at the numbers above) and follow up to see if you can get a free lawyer.

Not everyone will get a free lawyer. If these offices can’t help you get a lawyer for free, you will have to find a lawyer on your own or speak for yourself in court.