WYRWTK | Episode #15 | My case is administratively closed, do I need to tell the Immigration Court that I changed my address?
Transcript: Hi, I am Attorney Shaffer, today on “What You Really Want to Know,” we answer the question, “My case is Administratively Closed, do I need to tell the Immigration Court that I changed my address?”
The answer is, Yes!!! In fact, anyone who is currently in Removal or Deportation Proceedings must tell the immigration court and the Department of Homeland Security, or DHS, that he or she changed address within 5 days of moving.
What does it mean if your case is administratively closed?
It means that you are still “in removal/ deportation proceedings” but there is no future court date scheduled. It is basically a long pause. or legal limbo. At any time, either DHS or yourself can file a motion to put your case back on the calendar and continue your removal proceedings. Motions to Re-Calendar can be filed for a variety of reasons: DHS will file them if you are arrested after your case was closed or if the President directs them to continue with trying to deport you. We, on the other hand, file these motions for our clients when they have new relief from removal available. For example, if they married a U.S. Citizen and now have an approved marriage petition or if there is a change in country conditions constituting a new ground for asylum.
So why is it important for the Immigration Court and DHS to have your correct address?
If DHS decides to put your case back on the immigration court calendar, they are required to notify you by mailing a notice of hearing to your last known address and a copy to the attorney that you had at your last hearing, if you had one at all. As long as the address that DHS mails the notice to matches the one on file at the Immigration Court, DHS has satisfied the notice requirement under the law. There is no additional mailing requirements like a signature or sending the notice by registered or certified mail.
So considering the lax notice requirements combined with the fact that your case can be re-calendared at anytime, it is extremely important that the Immigration Court and DHS and/ or ICE has your correct address on file. If you did not receive notice of the new hearing and you miss that hearing, you will be ordered removed in absentia. If you move the court to vacate the in absentia order, as long as DHS shows that they mailed the notice to the address on file, the court will deny your motion to vacate and you will have no ability to ever fight your deportation or removal order. It is your responsibility to make sure that DHS has the correct address on file.
And this is true even if you have an attorney, who should also get a copy of all of your hearing notices. But do not think that you are covered just because you had an attorney. I cannot even tell you how many times we have received a notice for a client and we try to contact him or her and the phone # is out of service and the mail is returned to us with no forwarding address. Your attorney will not know how to reach you if you do not inform him or her that you have a new phone # or address!
Don’t wait to find out that you missed court and now have an order of removal when ICE comes knocking on your door, make sure that the address that is on file with the Immigration Court and DHS is correct today! If you are not sure what is going on with your case or you need help filing a change of address contact an experienced immigration attorney at The Shapiro Law Firm, LLC today!
That is all for this episode of “What You Really Want to Know,” thanks for watching!
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