Immigration Court, Appeals, and Motions
Laura M. Menchero is a seasoned litigator with solid trial, appeals, and motions practice experience. She has successfully argued many complex appeals and motions that have allowed her clients to become permanent residents and stay in the United States.
Immigration Court Proceedings
Removal is the legal term for deportation. A removal proceeding is usually based on a violation of immigration law or a criminal conviction. If the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has commenced a removal proceeding in immigration court against you or a loved one, you should contact an attorney immediately. DHS begins a removal proceeding by filing a Notice to Appear in immigration court.
In immigration court, there are many types of relief (meaning defenses) that are potentially available under the law so that you or your loved one can stay in the United States. These defenses include cancellation of removal, asylum, adjustment of status, and section 212(c) waivers.
Appeals and Motions
If you, or your loved one, already have an order of removal from immigration court — or a denial decision from a DHS officer on a petition or application filed with USCIS — you can appeal the order or decision or file a motion to reopen or reconsider if you do so within the legal time limits.
There are many grounds for an appeal, such as if DHS did not apply the law correctly or if it ignored the evidence, or abused its discretion. Motions to reopen are based on new facts. Motions to reconsider are based on errors of law or fact.
If the legal time limit to file an appeal or motion has already passed, you may still be able to overturn the order of removal if there is a basis for filing a joint motion to reopen. A joint motion to reopen can be based on new facts such as marriage to a U. S. citizen or if your prior attorney did not represent you effectively in the prior proceeding.
In some jurisdictions, such as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (which includes Florida), federal law recognizes “equitable tolling.” Equitable tolling is a principle of law that allows you to file a motion to reopen or reconsider even if the time limit for filing has passed, but you must meet certain conditions.
Most appeals and motions are filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals, the Administrative Appeals Office or in federal court.