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What Is a Motion to Reopen?
A Motion to Reopen is a process that asks an immigration court to reopen proceedings after an immigration judge has made a decision, so that the judge can consider important new evidence or changed circumstances in the case that demonstrate a relief from deportation that was not previously available at the last hearing.
On this page, we will review a Motion to Reopen if you have received a deportation order from an immigration judge.
What are the Grounds for Filing a Motion to Reopen?
Filing a motion to reopen can depend on several factors after you’ve received a deportation order. Regulations say that “evidence sought to be offered is material and was not available and could not have been discovered or presented at the former hearing.”
In addition to motions based on changed country conditions or special rule motions for certain survivors of domestic abuse, other grounds for reopening can include:
- Ineffective assistance of your prior lawyers which prejudiced your case
- Arguments that an individual is not or was not deportable as charged or is eligible for relief based on:
- A newly vacated conviction
- An error by the judge or a violation of procedure during the court proceedings
- A change in case law
- A change in personal circumstances
Common Reasons For Filing a Motion to Reopen
Let’s review some common reasons why you may want to file a Motion to Reopen:
- An immigration court did not notify you or your lawyer of your hearing
- You have new information that was not available before and that is critical to your case
- It is now dangerous for you to return to your country
- The situations in your life have changed. An example would be because you are now eligible for a green card through a family member
- You could have applied for a different type of relief that your lawyer did not explain to you
- Your previous attorney made a crucial mistake that harmed your case. An example would be that your attorney missed a deadline to file an application
It is critical to collect important new facts and evidence after the court ordered your deportation to successfully file and win your motion to reopen case.
Have questions about your specific case? Schedule an immigration strategy session.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Motion to Reopen?
The deadline for filing a Motion to Reopen is different depending on the circumstances. In most cases, the deadline is 90 days after the final hearing or deportation order date. However, if the order of deportation was in abstentia, meaning you were not present, due to exceptional circumstances, you can file it within 180 days. But if you missed your hearing because you did not receive notice of the court date, other than due to a failure to update the court with your correct address, or if you were in federal or state custody at the time of the hearing, you can file a Motion to Reopen at any time. Further, there are a few other exceptions to the 90-day filing deadline, including for changed country conditions for an asylum case, abused family members of US citizens who qualify for Cancellation of Removal, or when the government attorney agrees to reopen the case. Because the deadline is very important but can be different depending on the circumstances, make sure you verify this as soon as possible with your experienced Motion to Reopen immigration lawyer.
Motion to Reopen vs. Motion to Reconsider
A Motion to Reopen is used in cases in which there are new facts, law, or circumstances that now make a person eligible for relief that they were not at the time when the Immigration Judge made the denial decision. Generally speaking, you have 90 days to file a motion to reopen after the decision is made by an immigration court.
On the other hand, a Motion to Reconsider is typically used when nothing drastic has changed in the facts or the law, but you would like the judge to “reconsider” his or her decision. Most often, the lawyer will attempt to persuade the judge to change his or her mind about the denial they made, arguing the judge did not correctly apply the facts of the case and or should lean their discretion in favor of the individual considering the humanitarian or other facts at play in the case. Generally speaking, you have 30 days to file a motion to reconsider after the decision is made by an immigration court. Make sure you discuss with your immigration lawyer which Motion is the most suited for your case.
How Long Does it Take a Judge to Make a Decision on a Motion to Reopen?
The time varies on how long it takes for an immigration judge to decide, typically based on the judge’s caseload and whether or not the individual is detained during the proceeding. While there is no set estimate, it could take anywhere from 15 days to 9 months, depending on the complexity of the issue and how busy the docket is for that particular judge. It is a good idea to have your immigration lawyer help you follow up with the judge’s assistant after a reasonable amount of time has passed and or if you need a fast result due to an emergency or humanitarian situation that has arisen.
How Can An Immigration Lawyer Help With Filing a Motion to Reopen?
When you’re considering whether to file a Motion to Reopen, hiring an immigration lawyer is indispensable. Generally speaking, you only get one chance to file a Motion to Reopen. If it is denied, you can appeal it to the Board of Immigration Appeals, but the appeal will be based on only facts and evidence included in this Motion to Reopen. Meaning, it is extremely important that you file the Motion correctly the first - and only - time! In addition, an Immigration lawyer can:
- Review the strength of your case with you
- Make sure you file by the correct filing deadline
- Research and analyze recent case law in your jurisdiction on cases like yours
- Present a strong legal argument for your unique situation
- Explain your case in a compelling and convincing manner to the judge
If you’re contemplating filing a Motion to Reopen, our recommendation is that you hire an immigration lawyer with experience in filing complex immigration issues like these.
Need a Motion to Reopen After Receiving a Deportation Order? Hire a Top Immigration Lawyer in Miami, Florida
Do you need a Motion to Reopen after you’ve received an order of deportation by an Immigration Judge? You’ve come to the right place! Immigration Lawyers USA are top immigration lawyers in Miami, Florida and are able to help you navigate the complexities of a Motion to Reopen. If you need help fighting a deportation order, give Immigration Lawyers USA a call at 305-501-0783 or contact us here to schedule your consultation today.