(a) Opening. In a removal proceeding, the immigration judge shall:
(1) Advise the respondent of his or her right to representation, at no expense to the government, by counsel of his or her own choice authorized to practice in the proceedings and require the respondent to state then and there whether he or she desires representation;
(2) Advise the respondent of the availability of pro bono legal services for the immigration court location at which the hearing will take place, and ascertain that the respondent has received a list of such pro bono legal service providers.
(3) Ascertain that the respondent has received a copy of appeal rights.
(4) Advise the respondent that he or she will have a reasonable opportunity to examine and object to the evidence against him or her, to present evidence in his or her own behalf and to cross-examine witnesses presented by the government (but the respondent shall not be entitled to examine such national security information as the government may proffer in opposition to the respondent's admission to the United States or to an application by the respondent for discretionary relief);
(5) Place the respondent under oath;
(6) Read the factual allegations and the charges in the notice to appear to the respondent and explain them in non-technical language; and
(7) Enter the notice to appear as an exhibit in the Record of Proceeding.
(b) Public access to hearings. Removal hearings shall be open to the public, except that the immigration judge may, in his or her discretion, close proceedings as provided in § 1003.27 of this chapter.
(c) Pleading by respondent. The immigration judge shall require the respondent to plead to the notice to appear by stating whether he or she admits or denies the factual allegations and his or her removability under the charges contained therein. If the respondent admits the factual allegations and admits his or her removability under the charges and the immigration judge is satisfied that no issues of law or fact remain, the immigration judge may determine that removability as charged has been established by the admissions of the respondent. The immigration judge shall not accept an admission of removability from an unrepresented respondent who is incompetent or under the age of 18 and is not accompanied by an attorney or legal representative, a near relative, legal guardian, or friend; nor from an officer of an institution in which a respondent is an inmate or patient. When, pursuant to this paragraph, the immigration judge does not accept an admission of removability, he or she shall direct a hearing on the issues.
(d) Issues of removability. When removability is not determined under the provisions of paragraph (c) of this section, the immigration judge shall request the assignment of an Service counsel, and shall receive evidence as to any unresolved issues, except that no further evidence need be received as to any facts admitted during the pleading. The alien shall provide a court certified copy of a Judicial Recommendation Against Deportation (JRAD) to the immigration judge when such recommendation will be the basis of denying any charge(s) brought by the Service in the proceedings against the alien. No JRAD is effective against a charge of deportability under former section 241(a)(11) of the Act or if the JRAD was granted on or after November 29, 1990.
(e) Additional charges in removal hearings. At any time during the proceeding, additional or substituted charges of inadmissibility and/or deportability and/or factual allegations may be lodged by the Service in writing. The alien in removal proceedings shall be served with a copy of these additional charges and allegations. The immigration judge shall read the additional factual allegations and charges to the alien and explain them to him or her. The immigration judge shall advise the alien, if he or she is not represented by counsel, that the alien may be so represented, and that he or she may be given a reasonable continuance to respond to the additional factual allegations and charges. Thereafter, the provision of § 1240.6(b) relating to pleading shall apply to the additional factual allegations and charges.
(f) Country of removal. With respect to an arriving alien covered by section 241(b)(1) of the Act, the country, or countries in the alternative, to which the alien may be removed will be determined pursuant to section 241(b)(1) of the Act. In any other case, the immigration judge shall notify the respondent that if he or she is finally ordered removed, the country of removal will in the first instance be the country designated by the respondent, except as otherwise provided under section 241(b)(2) of the Act, and shall afford him or her an opportunity then and there to make such designation. The immigration judge shall also identify for the record a country, or countries in the alternative, to which the alien's removal may be made pursuant to section 241(b)(2) of the Act if the country of the alien's designation will not accept him or her into its territory, or fails to furnish timely notice of acceptance, or if the alien declines to designate a country. In considering alternative countries of removal, acceptance or the existence of a functioning government is not required with respect to an alternative country described in section 241(b)(1)(C)(i)-(iii) of the Act or a removal country described in section 241(b)(2)(E)(i)-(iv) of the Act. See 8 CFR 241.15.