10. FORGOT THAT OLD DEPORTATION ORDER?
Years ago you had an encounter with one of the branches of the Immigration Service. May be you filed an application that was denied. May be you were caught in a work-place raid. May be you were reported to the government by an unfriendly "friend". Any of these and many others could lead to a Notice To Appear (NTA) in Immigration Court (previously known as Order To Show Cause - OSC).
May be you appeared in Immigration Court - and may be not. (To read more about Immigration Court - click here). Either way - the end result was a final Order Of Removal (deportation) against you. May be you never knew about it. May be you knew - but you forgot about it. SUDDENLY - there is a "reminder". You could get the "reminder" in several ways, some of which are:
- A team of ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) officers knocks on your door, waving that old Order of Deportation in your face.
- You file a good application now, but during the adjudication process you are told that you are not eligible because of that old Order of Deportation. ICE may even arrest you during an interview at the Field Office.
- You consult with an immigration lawyer and the lawyer's research digs up that old Order of Deportation.
Is all lost?
After your immigration lawyer gets over the surprise, and learns all about you, your history and your present circumstances, the lawyer may find some legal reasons to reopen your deportation case and to cancel the old Order of Removal. For example: May be there was some defect in the procedure of the Immigration Court, like lack of proper "service" of the NTA or the OSC. May be in the meantime the law changed by legislation or by court interpretation, and now you have a basis for a Motion To Reopen (MTR). May be the passage of time together with changes in your circumstances (like severe medical problems of yourself or your spouse or child), create a strong enough humanitarian reason to convince the government attorneys to agree to reopen your case.
If a reopening is not possible and ICE keeps threatening to carry out your deportation, may be there are enough reasons to request a formal Stay of Removal. This is sometimes granted repeatedly in small - or large - increments of time. It could be worth a try.
It is necessary to remember that even if an old Order Of Deportation is valid and threatens you now, the actual removal (deportation) never happens very fast. You and your family have time to consult with experts and try for a relief.