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I Missed My Hearing in Immigration Court – Now What? 6 FAQs from an Atlanta Deportation Attorney

If you missed your hearing in immigration court, the Immigration Judge will order you deported “in absentia,” that means he will order you deported for not showing up.  However, there are exceptional circumstances in which the judge may reopen your case and continue the proceedings.


If you are facing a deportation crisis in Georgia, contact Kuck Immigration Partners. Charles Kuck is the past National President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and the past President of the Alliance of Business Immigration Lawyers (ABIL).

Call 404-816-8611 to schedule a consultation with a deportation attorney in Atlanta. Until then, read on to learn the answers to six FAQs about missed immigration hearings:

1. What “exceptional circumstances” could convince the Immigration Judge to reopen my case?

Here are a few examples of exceptional circumstances that may convince the Immigration Judge to reopen your case:

·         You were not notified about the hearing, meaning that the Court sent you a notice via mail but you did not receive it at no fault of your own;
·         Your immigration lawyer provided ineffective assistance of counsel, meaning that he or she did not tell you the date of your hearing, and this caused you to miss it; or
·         A medical complications can also be considered an exceptional circumstance – for example, if you were in the hospital on the day your hearing took place and it was not physically possible for you to attend.

2. Did the Court mail me a copy of my hearing date?

You can find out if the Court mailed a copy of your hearing date by filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request,  or by physically going and reviewing your immigration court file.

3. What if my immigration lawyer did not inform me about the hearing date?

If your immigration lawyer did not inform you about the hearing, you should discuss your case with an experienced deportation attorney who can explain your circumstances to the Immigration Judge. However, these types of motions to reopen a case are easily denied if you do not follow the Court’s guidelines for them.

4. What if I missed the hearing due to medical complications?

If you missed your hearing due to medical issues, your experienced deportation attorney can use your medical record to argue that your case warrants a second chance.

5. What if I forgot my hearing?

If you forgot your hearing, did not want to attend the hearing, or changed your address but did not notify the Court, then it will be difficult to get your case reopened. However, this may still be possible if you have circumstances that warrant the judge looking at your case.

6. How Can a Deportation Attorney Help?

Many people who face immigration hearings do not hire legal counsel because they believe there is no way they could stay in the United States, or that the judge will help them if they have a sympathetic story. However, these assumptions are often untrue, and hiring an experience deportation attorney comes with a multitude of potential benefits such as:

·         Your attorney can help you apply for cancellation of removal;
·         Your attorney may be able to show that you are in fact a U.S. citizen if you have a U.S. citizen grandparent or parent;
·         Depending on your situation, your attorney may request that the judge grant you relief from deportation
·         Your deportation lawyer may argue that you qualify for asylum;
·         If you are facing criminal charges, your lawyer can argue that the charges are not grounds for removal based on U.S. immigration laws; or
·         Your deportation lawyer can argue that your family or other ties, or good moral character would convince the DHS to close your case.


If you would like to speak with an immigration lawyer in Atlanta, contact Kuck Immigration Partners. Call 404-816-8611 to schedule a consultation.

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