This is a question that many immigrants find themselves asking at some point in their journey to U.S. citizenship. I applied for a green card and they told me I have an order of removal, or I was arrested and immigration detained me and said I have an order of deportation. These are scenarios that happen on a regular basis. The way our immigration system works, many non-citizens who are living their lives in the U.S. have orders of removal and either don’t even know it, or are able to live their lives, but have the fear that their next appointment with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will be the time they are detained and deported.
When someone has a final order of removal there can be many reasons for it. You may have gone through removal proceedings, fought your case and lost, appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals and lost and now you have a final order. You may have not even known that you were in removal proceedings and were ordered removed when you did not show up for a court date that you didn’t even know you had. Or you may have gone to court many times and for one reason or another, you had car trouble, you were in jail or you were scared, you did not show up for your final hearing and you were ordered deported. All of these are ways that people end up with orders of removal or deportation.
How you received your order of removal is a key factor in determining if an attorney can help you reopen your case and overturn that order of removal. If you fought your case all the way through and lost at every step, your chances of reopening your case and getting your green card back or having a chance at getting a green card a slim. However, that does not mean it is impossible.
Many times, the immigration laws have changed since you were ordered removed and the criminal conviction for which you were deported or denied relief from removal is no longer a problem. Sometimes a person can vacate and set aside their criminal conviction that lead to their deportation and then they can reopen their case and get their green card back or apply for relief from removal.
Sometimes, there is new evidence that was not available at the time of the original case that could change the outcome of the case; this could include a marriage to a U.S. citizen, or another reason why you qualify for asylum when you did not before. For some immigrants, the conditions in your home country may have changed for the worse and while you were not in fear of returning home during your immigration case, you are now.
These are all possible reasons that you can try to reopen your immigration case and go back to court and fight to stay in the U.S. But remember, hiring an experienced and knowledgeable immigration attorney (like me: https://www.slgattorneysflorida.com/john-gihon.html) as soon as possible is key to preserving your rights to try and reopen your case. If you wait too long after the new evidence comes to light or after the change in country conditions you may not be able to reopen your case.
Then there are the cases where you were ordered removed because you did not show up for court. There are many reasons why people don’t show up for immigration court. What is important to remember is that if you file a motion to reopen an in absentia order (an order of removal issued because you did not show up for court), you receive an automatic stay of removal and the government cannot deport you until the judge decides your motion. This type of motion and automatic stay are extremely important for immigrants who are detained by ICE and pending removal in a matter of days or weeks. The automatic stay of removal will give people a reprieve from removal until the motion is decided.
There are a few different reasons to try and reopen your case when you missed your court date. The easiest one and one that is the most successful is to prove that you didn’t even know you were in removal proceedings, did not know you had a court date and never received notice of your court date. We have had tremendous success reopening cases when this scenario is the truth and we can prove it to the court.
Another reason to reopen your case when you missed your court date is when you had a car accident, flat tire, sick child, you were sick or you were in jail. These reasons, when supported by evidence and a claim for relief from removal will usually convince an immigration judge to reopen your case and give you a chance to stay in the U.S.
If you did not come to court because you were afraid to get deported or you had not done what the judge ordered you to do at the last court date, then there is probably not much any attorney can do for you.
If you have an order of removal and you don’t want to be deported, you should consult with an experienced and trusted immigration attorney as soon as possible to see if they can help you with your case. If you personal circumstances have changed since you were ordered removed, you married, had kids, had your criminal conviction vacated or the law changed to help you, you may be able to reopen your case and avoid deportation. Do not delay because that will not help your case and can sometimes ensure that your motion is denied.
If you need more information about reopening your removal or deportation order anywhere in the United States, call Shorstein, Lasnetski & Gihon.
Visit our website for more information about SLG: http://www.slgattorneys.com