Skip to main content

I Missed My Hearing in Immigration Court--Is Everything Over for Me Now?

No; but the reason you missed your hearing is important. Most of the time (at least in Atlanta, where our firm is), if a person does not show up to his or her hearing, the Immigration Judge will order this person removed (or deported). A person who is removed without having attended his hearing has an in absentia order and only exceptional circumstances will make the Immigration Judge reopen that person's case and continue proceedings. 

Examples of what can be considered "exceptional circumstances" are: lack of notice (the Court sent you a hearing notice in the mail but you did not get it and it is not your fault), ineffective assistance of counsel (your attorney at the time did not communicate to you the date of your hearing and as a result, you missed it), medical issues (for example, you happened to be in the hospital the day of your hearing and there was no way you were able to physically attend). 

How do you know if the Court did in fact mail you a copy of your hearing date? By reviewing your file in immigration court or searching your immigration history with the Department of Justice (the department that oversees the immigration courts). An attorney can help you with all this. If you had a bad attorney who did not tell you of your court hearing, talk to a second attorney who may be able to help you by explaining your situation to the judge (these types of motions to reopen--as they are called--are easily denied if you don't follow the specific guidelines set by the Court for them). Similarly, if you had medical issues and missed your hearing, an attorney can help you get your entire medical record and effectively argue to the Court that your case warrants a second chance in Court. 

On the other hand, if you missed your court hearing because you simply forgot, you changed your address but never notified the Court, or you simply did not want to attend your hearing, you may have a very difficult time getting a second chance in Court. People who have very sympathetic factors like sick children, U.S. Citizen spouses who have filed petitions, etc., may alleviate some of these negative factors. 

If you or someone you know missed a hearing in court, have him contact an attorney who can determine if reopening is an option.

Johanna Cochran, Associate Attorney

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Are An Immigrant (even a US Citizen), Here Are 9 Things You Should Know

Are you a Naturalized U.S. Citizen, Lawful Permanent Resident, Visa Holder, or an Undocumented Immigrant? We recommend you take the following steps to protect yourself in our current version of America.
The last couple of weeks have reminded immigrants, even naturalized U.S. citizens, that they were not born in the United States. Our office has received countless phone calls, emails, and social media messages from people worrying about what their family’s future in the United States holds.
Most people want to know what they can do now to protect themselves from what promises to be a wave of anti-immigration activity by the federal government. Trump's Executive Order on Interior Enforcement has some provisions that should make most Americans shiver.  We recommend the following actions for each of the following groups:
Naturalized U.S. citizens. In particular if you have a foreign accent, and you are traveling within 100 miles of any US Border (including the oceans), we strongly rec…

Why is USCIS Taking So Long to Renew DACA Work Permits?

If the calls to our office are any indicator, there are thousands of DACA recipients whose work permit applications were filed at least three months prior to expiration, who are still waiting for their renewed work permits.  Without renewed permits, these individuals lose the right to work legally, the right to drive, and may once again accrue unlawful presence.

The DHS published a notice in October 2014 advising DACA recipients that they could file their request for extension up to 150 days (5 months) prior to expiration.  As with all things government, very few of the DACA recipients, who tend not to frequent government websites, knew about the memo and many did not file so far before expiration perhaps thinking that extending a work permit was a like extending a drivers license, its is done in a few minutes.  As an experienced immigration lawyer will tell you, the USCIS does nothing quickly, and certainly does not worry that a person may lose their job or their driver's licens…
Si usted es inmigrante (incluso un ciudadano de los EE.UU.), aquí hay 9 cosas que usted debe saber.

¿Es usted un ciudadano estadounidense naturalizado, residente legal permanente, titular de una visa o inmigrante indocumentado? Le recomendamos que tome los siguientes pasos para protegerse de nuestra versión actual de América.
Las últimas semanas hemos recordado a los inmigrantes, incluso a los ciudadanos estadounidenses naturalizados, que no nacieron en los Estados Unidos. Nuestra oficina ha recibido innumerables llamadas telefónicas, mensajes de correo electrónico y mensajes de medios sociales de personas preocupadas por el futuro de su familia en los Estados Unidos.
La mayoría de gente quiere saber qué puede hacer ahora para protegerse de lo que promete ser una ola de actividad anti-inmigración por parte del gobierno federal. La orden ejecutiva de Trump sobre la aplicación de la ley interior tiene algunas disposiciones que deberían hacer temblar a la mayoría de los estadounidenses. …