Immigration & Federal Court
There are various types of removal proceedings where an individual may be deported from the United States, including administrative removal, judicial removal, expedited removal, removal proceedings under the Section 240(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, and removal pursuant to entry under the Visa Waiver Program.
The most common form is removal proceedings before the Immigration Judge. These cases are initiated with the issuance of a “Notice to Appear” which is issued by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and served/filed with the Immigration Court.
It is very important to be represented by competent and experienced lawyers in any removal proceedings. Individuals have a right to an attorney at no cost to the government, which basically means that unlike criminal court, an individual has a right to hire and pay for an attorney. The government will not pay for the individual to be represented by a lawyer.
It is imperative that an individual hire a lawyer as soon as possible when he or she is facing removal from the United States. Our firm takes these cases extremely serious and to our firm these cases are as serious as life and death. There may be many different forms of relief that are available that some inexperienced attorneys may not recognize. As such, hiring the right lawyer may make a world of a difference in obtaining the results desired. There are no certainties in the practice of law, but being represented by a lawyer who puts forth a genuine diligent and zealous representation of your interests will further your desired goals.
Our firm is proud of our continued success in this area of practice where we have saved a countless number of clients from removal/deportation despite even criminal convictions. Of course, every case is unique and past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results. However, every client’s case is of paramount interest and concern to our office and as such, we strive to achieve success in every case. In fact, based on our stellar reputation, our firm regularly receives referrals from other lawyers pertaining to representation of their clients in very difficult and complex immigration cases.
Appeals/ Motions to Reopen or Reconsider
In general, there are three forms of review of an Immigration Judge’s decision.
Review of an Immigration Judge’s decision may be accomplished by filing an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”). There is a strict time limit in which to file the appeal. Do not be represented by a lawyer who files a standard appeal to the BIA. It is imperative that your lawyer gives your cases special treatment and prepares your appeal based on your individual case. Our firm will examine, investigate and research your individual case and put forth the proper grounds and arguments in an effort to win your case.
Motions to Reopen/Reconsider:
Motion to Reopen
The purpose behind a motion to reopen is the have the Court review the case for various reasons. There may now be new material evidence that was not available previously and could not have been discovered or submitted at the prior hearing. In addition, there may be changed conditions related to the law or facts that may now make the individual eligible for some relief.
There are strict time and numerical limitations to filing motions to reopen. However, as with almost everything in life, there are exceptions which may apply. Only an experienced lawyer should be consulted to discuss these matters.
Motions to reopen are also commonly filed on behalf of clients who were ordered deported or removed because they failed to show up in Immigration Court, which is commonly referred to as “in absentia” removal. Our firm has a record of success in reopening cases in which individuals were ordered deported many years ago.
In one case, we reopened deportation/removal proceedings where an individual was ordered deported close to twenty years ago for his failure to show up in Court. He had previously been represented by numerous lawyers, none of whom were able to reopen his case. He contacted our firm after having been arrested by the Department of Homeland Security based on the old deportation order. He was on the verge of being sent back to his country of nationality when we intervened and took the necessary action to reopen his case. This effectively stopped his immediate removal and permitted him to be released from custody.
In another case, an individual contacted our firm to inform us that he was previously represented by another lawyer who permitted him to request “Voluntary Departure” from the Immigration Judge, although he was in a bona fide marriage with a U.S. citizen. He informed us that he did not wish to leave the country despite agreeing to leave under the “Voluntary Departure” order from the Judge. His possible separation from his U.S. citizen wife and child deeply saddened him. We were appalled that a lawyer would not have fought harder for this client. He claimed that his lawyer pressured him to agree to leave the country. When he retained our firm, he had a little bit over a month left under the Judge’s order. We investigated his case thoroughly and discovered that the Department of Homeland Security failed to timely file his removal case with the Immigration Court. Due to the government’s tardiness in filing his case with the Immigration Court, he became eligible for relief which was previously denied. As such, we were able to convince the Department of Homeland Security and the Immigration Judge to reopen his case.
Motion to Reconsider
Motions to reconsider are filed in order to correct an error of law or re-examine the facts of a case. It is usually based on legal issues. There is also a time and numerical limitation to filing these motions. You generally get one shot at it. This rule is strictly enforced.
Do not allow an inexperienced lawyer to file a “weak” or “groundless” motion to reconsider and blow your chances.
In one case, a concerned parent came to our office to inform us that he had hired a lawyer to represent his son who was in custody by the Department of Homeland Security. He had been convicted of “petit larceny” and the Immigration Judge had ordered his removal/deportation as a result of that conviction despite being a “green card” holder. This lawyer was hired to file a motion to reconsider the removal/deportation of his son. Needless to say, the lawyer filed a motion to reconsider the removal/deportation order, which was denied. The lawyer failed to mention to the Immigration Judge that the individual’s conviction should not have been considered a “conviction” for immigration purposes because he was adjudicated as a “Youthful Offender” under New York law. It was only after our firm was retained that the concerned parent found out that a conviction as a “Youthful Offender” in his son’s case was not a conviction for immigration purposes. As such, his son should not have been ordered deported because he had in fact not been convicted of a crime involving moral turpitude, despite being charged as such.
Federal Court Review
The general rule is that federal judicial review of an order of removal/deportation is in the United States Court of Appeals. In order to seek review in the Court of Appeals, there must be a final order of removal/deportation. A petition for review with the Court of Appeals must be filed within 30 days of the final administrative decision. In addition, there is no automatic stay of removal/deportation based on having timely filed petition for review to the Court of Appeals. It is imperative that a lawyer seek a stay of removal from the Court to ensure that the individual is not physically removed from the United States while the federal case is pending.