Joint Motions to Reopen: Getting Rid of the Stormy Clouds of an Old Deportation Order
A question frequently asked to Fong & Aquino’s Palm Springs immigration lawyers is whether an old deportation case can be reopened.
During the previous presidential administration, the answer was no. Thus, many people living under the storm cloud of a deportation order were unable to seek the government’s consent to file a joint motion to reopen to an Immigration Judge. Now, under a revised memorandum (known as the “Doyle memo”), an avenue to petition the government has been restored.
I had previously written about motions to reopen here.
Here’s a recap for the TLDR crowd: When an immigration judge is unable to grant relief for someone to remain in the United States, the judge enters an order of removal. Many years may pass, people’s lives and circumstances may change, and a new path towards lawful permanent residency may emerge. However, these individuals are prevented from seeking to regularize their status because of the old removal orders.
In order to have another chance to present the case in the court, one would need to convince an immigration judge to grant a motion to reopen. Judges are hesitant to disturb cases that have long been dormant. However, if the government prosecutors — in this case, the Department of Homeland Security — consented to a joint motion, then the immigration judge must reopen the case. Once the case is reopened, an immigrant could file their application with the judge or pursue the application with the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (or “USCIS”).
How does one convince the Department of Homeland Security to give an immigrant another chance? The prosecutors have recently been provided with revised guidance that lists the criteria that they should consider. The prosecutors weigh favorable equities (such as presence of family members who are United States citizens or lawful permanent residents, gainful employment history, length of time in the United States, involvement in the local community, and a lack of criminal history) against adverse factors (such as the severity of the prior immigration violations, like the use of fraudulent documents or identities in order to enter the United States, involvement with any terrorist organizations, or a background consisting of egregious or multiple criminal convictions).
Fong & Aquino has successfully assisted a number of immigrants to reopen their cases. For example, the lady from Mexico who had been brought to the United States as a child and overstayed her visa, had a deportation case tied to her parents, had married her high school sweetheart, and had been raising several of their children in Lancaster. In another instance, a gentleman whose initial application for asylum had been unsuccessful, but who had adult children born in the United States who could submit a petition on his behalf.
Under the Doyle memo, the government has expressed a newfound willingness to consider the plight of immigrants whose families constantly live in fear that their father or mother could be deported with little notice. If you would like to discuss whether there is a viable path towards reopening your court proceedings, we invite you seek the assistance of great immigration lawyers in Palm Springs, maybe like the ones at Fong & Aquino. –ra