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Motion to Reopen Immigration Proceedings

Posted by Gutierrez Law Firm on September 18, 2013

It may be possible for a qualified immigration lawyer to reopen the case of an immigrant who is subject to a U.S. immigration court deportation order. Filing a special petition called a motion to reopen allows an attorney to introduce new material evidence in the case. Depending on the circumstances of the case, a previously deported individual may become eligible for a permanent residence card.

Motion to Reopen

In an in absentia deportation hearing, the judge may proceed with the case even if the immigrant fails to appear as long as proper notification of the trial date was given. If a person stays in the U.S. after an in absentia decision or illegally returns some time afterward, he or she should talk to a lawyer about a motion to reopen before applying for a green card based on marriage or employment. Any of the following factors may provide a basis for filing a motion to reopen a deportation case:

  • Marriage
  • Employment
  • Failure to provide lawful notice of an immigration proceeding
  • Exceptional circumstances that prevented an immigrant from attending an immigration hearing
  • New evidence that warrants reconsideration of a previous deportation order

It’s important to handle a motion to reopen with special care since most aliens are provided only one opportunity to reverse a deportation order. A person who is subject to a standing deportation order may be arrested and deported without a hearing if they meet with an immigration officer. The best course of action in such cases is to file a motion to reopen the case.

Deportation Orders

An immigrant may not even be aware that a previous application was denied by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Previous deportation orders can be reinstated. Therefore, it’s important to speak by telephone with a court representative to learn whether there is a previous deportation order on record before attending an interview with an immigration officer.

The failure of an alien to appear at an immigration hearing can be caused by something as simple as the legal notice having been sent to the wrong address. If it can be shown that the immigrant was not notified of the hearing, the case can be reopened in accordance with U.S. immigration law. When a case is reopened by a judge, the previous removal order is automatically stayed. There is no filing fee to reopen an in absentia case.

To determine if you are eligible for a motion to reopen, schedule a complimentary consultation with the Gutierrez Law Firm at 210.225.7114.