Motions To Reopen And Appeals

A Motion to Reopen is a request to an Immigration Judge or the Board of Immigration Appeals to reopen and reconsider a case that has already ended. The purpose is to present new or changed evidence that would have had a significant impact on the original determination if it had been available at that time. A motion to reopen must be requested within 90 days of the final order of removal, exclusion, or deportation and must be done while the person is still in the United States. A person is allowed one motion to reopen. Exceptions to these limitations are if the person is applying for asylum, withholding of removal, or withholding of removal under the Convention Against Torture. Exceptions may also be made if the order was done in absentia, meaning the person was not present at the hearing, or if the motion is filed jointly by the Department of Homeland Security and the individual seeking to have their case reopened. If the case is successfully reopened the person must present to the appropriate court evidence demonstrating why the outcome of their case should be different.

Most negative outcomes from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or from an Immigration Judge can be appealed. With some exceptions, a denial from USCIS can be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). Different branches of the AAO specialize in different types of cases. A case before an Immigration Judge that results in an order of removal can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Alternatively, a positive result from the Immigration Judge can be appealed by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys. An appeal to the BIA must be filed within 30 days of the decision of the Immigration Judge. If the appeal to the BIA also results in a negative outcome a case can be appealed to the federal circuit court that has jurisdiction where the original decision of the Immigration Judge was made.