It happens way more often than you would think. A person applies for lawful permanent resident status (also known as a green card) and during the process they find out they are not eligible because there is an order of removal or deportation in their file. Sometimes, a person with an order of removal can obtain lawful permanent resident status because of an oversight by USCIS, but when the same person applies for U.S. citizenship, they are denied because of the old order of removal. Most of the time, the person has no idea they were in immigration court removal proceedings or that they had an order of removal. Many times, that order of removal was issued by an immigration judge because the person did not show up for court, usually because they had no idea they were scheduled to appear for court. In either scenario, there is a solution . . .a motion to reopen.
We are contacted all the time by people who had I-485 Applications to Adjust Status denied or closed because of an outstanding removal order. Sometimes the caller knows they had the order of removal already, but many times they had no idea. We also receive calls from people who have green cards for years and then applied for citizenship and were denied because USCIS sees an old order of removal in their file. The good news is, there is a solution.
We have been successful in numerous cases going back to reopen and terminate or dismissing the old immigration court cases. Once the old case is reopened, the order of removal is gone and if the case is terminated or dismissed, we refile for lawful permanent residence or citizenship and the path is now clear for success.
Many times people applying for lawful status or citizenship do not know that they were once in removal proceedings and do not know about the order of removal. This often happens because the person applied for an immigration benefit like asylum, change or adjustment of status or something else. USCIS denies the benefit and issues the person a notice to appear for immigration court. USCIS may deny the benefit and send the notice by mail to an address where the person has not lived for years. Many people get tired of waiting for an immigration benefit and give up having contact with USCIS and don’t change their address. USCIS uses the last known address it has and if that address is no longer valid, the person may have no idea their immigration benefit was denied and no idea they are scheduled for court. When they don’t show up for court, the immigration judge will order them to be deported. The person may be living their normal life, maybe applies for lawful status and only then finds out then that they have an order of removal. Sometimes the person with an order of removal is able to obtain lawful status and then they only find out about the order of removal when they apply for citizenship.
If you applied for an immigration benefit only to find out you have an order of removal, do not give up! Call an experienced immigration attorney right away to discuss your case. There are solutions to the problem, and ignoring an order of removal is not a solution, it can only make things worse.
Call our office today if you have an order of removal and want to explore your options to fix your immigration status.
407 228 2019.
John Gihon, Board Certified Immigration Attorney and Federal Court Practitioner.