CLINIC’s Remote Motions to Reopen Project Strengthens Affiliates’ Ability to Help Noncitizens With Removal Orders
CLINIC created the Remote Motions to Reopen Project, or RMTR Project, to address the critical need for competent representation for individuals with final orders of removal who could reopen their proceedings through filing a motion to reopen. A final order of removal has serious consequences. First, it puts a person at immediate risk of removal from the United States. Deportation can tear families apart and, for some, it can mean return to a dangerous country where the person faces torture, persecution or even death. A prior removal order can also make a person ineligible for certain immigration benefits and can prevent a person from returning to the United States even if he or she is otherwise eligible for a visa.
Yet, many people can reopen proceedings based on new evidence that has come to light since their hearing before the immigration judge. For example, an individual could seek reopening with (1) new evidence of a mental illness that prevented the individual from effectively presenting their case or (2) evidence of changed conditions in their country of origin that now make it more dangerous to return. Reopening in circumstances like these could mean the difference between being permanently separated from family in the United States and being permitted to stay in the United States lawfully. For some, it may even be the difference between life and death. Motions to reopen are time consuming and complex. Many CLINIC affiliates do not currently have the capacity to handle motions to reopen fully in house. CLINIC’s RMTR Project seeks to fill that gap by:
- Offering trainings and educational materials related to motions to reopen.
- Mentoring practitioners who are working on motions to reopen.
- Co-counseling on motions to reopen.
CLINIC will also harness pro bono resources to provide representation on BIA appeals from denials of motions to reopen, petitions for review following denials of motions to reopen at the BIA, and related district court litigation. Affiliates handling BIA appeals, petitions for review and related district court litigation should also reach out to CLINIC if they need assistance.