What is an Order in absentia and is it different than a final order?
When you fail to appear for a Deportation or Removal Proceedings hearing, the immigration judge must issue a removal order, as long as the government has proof that you were given written notice of the hearing. If the government did mail you a notice of the hearing, you will be ordered removed if you fail to show up. Your failure to appear for a scheduled removal hearing most likely means that you were ordered removed in absentia by the judge. It is a final order and there are very limited circumstances in which you might be able to reopen the case for a second hearing.
This means that if you are ever “caught” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), they can use that removal order to take you into custody and deport you from the U.S. without letting you see an Immigration Judge first. Additionally, an Order of Removal in absentia makes you ineligible for a number of forms of relief from removal, such as voluntary departure, cancellation of removal, and adjustment or change of status, for a period of ten years after the date of the removal order.
What can I do after I have been Ordered Removed in absentia by the Immigration Court?
In limited circumstances, you can file a Motion to Reopen your removal proceedings, or you can ask ICE for discretionary relief. It is, however, highly advisable to retain an experienced immigration attorney to help you navigate this tricky area of immigration law.
Contact our knowledgeable U.S. immigration attorney in Los Angeles now for your FREE consultation and see how we can help you!