Every alien who has a case before an Immigration Judge ("IJ") must make an appearance for his or her hearing. Failure to appear for a scheduled removal hearing allows an IJ to issue a removal order in absentia (without your presence in court) which will render you deportable from the United States.
If you have been ordered removed In Absentia, you have two limited options to apply for relief from In Absentia removal order: 1) an alien can file a motion to reopen his or her removal proceedings; or 2) an alien can ask for discretionary relief from ICE. This blog post is dedicated to the first option: filing a motion to reopen removal proceedings.
You can file a motion to reopen: 1) if you did not receive the Notice to Appear ("NTA") giving the date and time of your hearing; or 2) your failure to appear at a hearing was due to some exceptional circumstances beyond your control.
An alien can file a motion to reopen at any time if the alien did not receive proper notice of the hearing. For example, if the NTA was mailed to an incorrect address or you were in federal or state custody, you might be successful in reopening your case if the failure to appear was not your fault.
To reopen your case due to exceptional circumstances, the motion to reopen must be filed within 180 days of the In Absentia removal order. Exceptional circumstances include, but are not limited to, the serious illness or death of a spouse, child, or parent, traffic irregularities beyond your control like extreme weather preventing travel.
Once you file a motion to reopen, an automatic stay of your deportation will remain in effect until the IJ issues a decision on your motion. This means that you cannot be removed from the United States unless the IJ denies your motion to reopen.
Contact The Singh Law Office as soon as possible to preserve your immigration rights.
Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.