Here is a situation that is all too common: A person hoping to become a citizen of the United States carefully follows all the necessary steps. They fill out paperwork, provide all the necessary documentation, prove that they have the required credentials, and get everything completed on time. Then they wait eagerly for a decision from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Finally, after all, that time and effort, a decision is reached, and the applicant is ordered to be deported. Enter the Immigration Motion to Reopen.
For anyone who has been through this process, the heartbreak and frustration can be overwhelming. But be aware that this is not the end of the fight. By relying on an immigration motion to reopen, it is possible to appeal the decision and get a second chance on immigration. If you think that an immigration motion to reopen could help your cause, read on to learn the important information you need to proceed forwards.
Consider Your Options First
Before you decide to file an immigration motion to reopen, think about what your ultimate goal is. This process has a chance of allowing you to stay in the country. But the process is not quick, easy, or inexpensive. And in some cases, people file an immigration motion to reopen only to receive a deportation order all over again. This is an option worth considering, but an immigration motion to reopen is not the ideal choice for all immigrants facing deportation.
What is an Immigration Motion to Reopen?
This is simply a process through which someone who has been ordered to be deported can challenge the decision. The Immigration Court is asked to open a new trial and consider new evidence that is intended to cast the defendant in a more positive light and establish their credentials to stay in the U.S. If there is no new evidence to offer, an immigration motion to reopen is probably not the ideal option to pursue.
Alternatives to an Immigration Motion to Reopen
There are two other mechanisms through which a defendant can accomplish the same goals as an immigration motion to reopen. In some cases, these may be the better option. By filing an appeal, a defendant can assert that the law has been mishandled or misinterpreted. The case then goes to a higher immigration court for further review. By filing a motion to reconsider, a defendant can assert that the facts of the case have been incorrectly understood. This is an option if there is no new evidence to present but rather compelling evidence that has not been understood properly. These options are not necessarily stronger or weaker than an immigration motion to reopen, but they are worth considering for anyone who feels they have a right to stay in the country.
When to File an Immigration Motion to Reopen
In general, an immigration motion to reopen must be filed within 90 days of receiving the final notice of deportation. There are exemptions, but they only apply to very narrow circumstances and typically do not offer the lifeline that defendants are looking for. The dates and deadlines are important to be aware of because it is futile to pursue an immigration motion to reopen if the deadline has already passed.
Process to File an Immigration Motion to Reopen
If you or someone you love has been ordered to leave the country, an immigration motion to reopen is absolutely an option to consider. But as you have learned above, this process offers no guarantees, and only applies to a limited number of deportees.
The best way to proceed forward with the process is to work with an immigration lawyer who has experience and expertise with this type of motion. Legal counsel can assess your situation, evaluate your goals, and tell you honestly whether an immigration motion to reopen is an option worth pursuing. If is is not, a dedicated lawyer will be able to recommend alternatives.
If an immigration motion to reopen is a viable option, a lawyer can help you prepare and file the necessary documents, then track their progress through the immigration court system. If your motion is honored and the case is reopened, that lawyer can help you to present new evidence in court in the most compelling way possible.
Admittedly, an immigration motion to reopen is something of a last ditch effort. And in many cases, the motion is denied, or new evidence proves to be unconvincing when presented in court. But when the only other option on the table is deportation, an immigration motion to reopen is an avenue that must be considered. To learn more about what is involved, rely on the counsel of The Henner Law Group. To get a free and in-depth consultation about any immigration issues you are facing, call 914-290-5777 at your earliest convenience.