Date: June 3, 2010
A Motion to Reopen is a request to either an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen either removal or deportation proceedings. There are many reasons why a case would warrant reopening and there are also many restrictions.
Numerical and timeliness issues are the most common restrictions. Generally, only one Motion to Reopen can be filed with the Immigration Court and only one Motion to Reopen can be filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals. In most cases, a Motion to Reopen must be filed within 90 days of a final Order. The exception to the 90 day rule is if the Motion to Reopen is being filed to rescind an in absentia Order. An in absentia Order is one that is issued by an Immigration Judge when a person fails to appear on the date and at the time scheduled. In those cases, the Motion to Reopen must be filed within 180 days of the final Order or at any time if the movant is claiming lack of notice of the hearing.
It is important to note that once a case is reopened, any and all forms of relief that may not have been available during the old proceedings can be filed. Generally, Motions to Reopen are filed when a new form of relief that was not previously available becomes ripe. For example, if a person with a final order of removal marries a United States citizen and is otherwise eligible to adjust their status, a Motion to Reopen is filed to remove the obstacle of the final order once the family visa petition is approved.
This is just a brief outline of Motions to Reopen. For more information contact us for a free in-house consultation.