News

Deported? You may still reopen your case and return to the US.

February 3, 2011

Washington, D.C. - Today, a federal appellate court chastised the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) for preventing non-citizens from reopening their cases from outside the United States. This important ruling from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit repudiates the government's view that immigration judges and the BIA lack "jurisdiction" over such cases. Federal law gives non-citizens the right to file motions to submit new evidence after their removal orders become final. But the BIA has long maintained that it cannot consider such a motion if a foreign national is outside the United States. This policy gives the government a perverse incentive to remove non-citizens from the country before they have an opportunity to submit evidence that could change the outcome of their cases. Moreover, the policy is at odds with provisions of a harsh 1996 immigration law that resulted in a dramatic reduction in due process rights and expansion of expedited removal but that made it clear that non-citizens had the opportunity to seek review of unfavorable decisions from outside the United States. This policy has now been reversed by the federal court.