Immigration Blog

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Navigating Joint Motion to Reopen for an Old Deportation or Removal Order

May 16, 2024 | BIA, EOIR, Immigration Court, motions to reopen, removal, USICE

Introduction

In the realm of U.S. immigration law, circumstances may arise where an individual’s immigration case needs to be reopened through a motion to reopen for further review or consideration.

One way to pursue this is through a joint motion to reopen, which involves both the individual (or their lawyer) and the U.S. government agreeing to revisit the case by reopening it, so that the individual may seek relief from deportation.

In my career, I have drafted many joint motion requests that were successful and the cases were reopened.  All of those individuals were able to obtain their green cards and eventually, their citizenship!

In this blog post, I will explore the key aspects of the joint motion to reopen, including when it may be appropriate, the process involved, and what individuals can expect.

What is a Joint Motion to Reopen?

A joint motion to reopen is a request made to the immigration court or the Board of Immigration Appeals (Board) by both the individual (or their lawyer) and the U.S. government to revisit an immigration case that the immigration court or the Board already decided.

This motion is typically used to present new evidence or legal arguments that were not available at the time of the original decision, such as eligibility for adjustment of status.

By agreeing to the joint motion, both parties agree to reexamine the case and consider the new information presented.

When to Consider Filing a Joint Motion to Reopen

A joint motion to reopen may be appropriate in the following situations:

New Evidence: You have new and material evidence that was not available at the time of the original decision and could potentially change the outcome of the case.

Change in Circumstances: There has been a significant change in circumstances since the original decision that warrants a reexamination of the case.

Legal Errors: There were legal errors in the original decision that need to be corrected.

Numerical or Time Barred Motion: The window to file a timely motion to reopen with the immigration court or the Board has passed, or you have already reached the limit on the number of motions you can file with the immigration court or the Board.

Process of Filing a Joint Motion to Reopen

The process of filing a joint motion to reopen typically involves the following steps:

Agreement Between Parties: Both you (or your lawyer) and the U.S. government must agree to file a joint motion to reopen either with the immigration court or the Board. This agreement is typically reached by you (or your lawyer) convincing the government that you are eligible for relief from deportation and that you deserve a second chance..

Filing the Motion: Once both parties agree, the joint motion to reopen is filed with the appropriate immigration court or the Board. The motion must include a detailed explanation of the new evidence or legal arguments being presented.

Review by the Court or the Board: The immigration court or the Board will review the motion and the supporting evidence to determine if the case should be reopened. They may request additional information before making a decision.

Decision: If the joint motion to reopen is granted, the case will be reopened and reconsidered, and a new decision will be issued. If the motion is denied, the original decision will stand.

Conclusion

A joint motion to reopen can be a valuable tool for individuals seeking to revisit their immigration case and present new evidence or legal arguments.

By understanding the process involved and working with experienced legal counsel, individuals can take the necessary steps to pursue this option and potentially achieve a more favorable outcome in their case.

Ruchi Thaker