If you are in removal proceedings and the immigration judge issues an order of removal in your case, you have one opportunity to file a Motion to Reopen. If the motion is granted, it gives you one more chance to have a judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) look at your case to see if you would receive a different outcome.

A Motion to Reopen allows you to present new facts or new circumstances that would likely change the outcome of the judge’s decision in your case. You may also file a Motion to Reopen if you have become eligible to submit a new application for relief, or you received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Normally, the motion must be filed within 90 days from the date of the judge’s final order, however exceptions may apply depending on the case. Generally, the motion is filed with either the immigration court or the BIA, depending on the last entity that had contact with the case, though again some exceptions may apply.

Your Motion to Reopen must include all the possible legal bases for reopening your case, along with evidence in the form of exhibits to support your motion. Once filed, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is given an opportunity to respond.

Filing a Motion to Reopen does not automatically stop the removal order, therefore it is necessary to also file a motion for a stay of removal, to prevent your removal from the United States prior to the judge making a decision on your Motion to Reopen. There are some exceptions to this rule as well.

If the immigration judge denies the Motion to Reopen, you can then appeal that decision to the BIA. If the BIA denies the Motion to Reopen, you can file a petition for review with the court of appeals in your district. However, keep in mind that filing an appeal or petition to review does not automatically stay a removal order, and you must request a stay of the removal until a decision is made on your case.

Motions to Reopen are complicated and very fact-specific, therefore it is always advisable to seek the advice of an immigration attorney prior to filing. Remember that you only get one opportunity to file a Motion to Reopen, and you want to make sure that it is as strong as possible to obtain a positive outcome in your case.

For more information regarding Motions to Reopen, or other complex immigration court matters, please contact our Deportation Defense Attorneys at Landerholm Immigration, APC at (510) 491-0291.