Previous Attorney’s Bad Advice Leads to in Absentia Removal Order, Motion to Reopen Granted!
September 28, 2023

Table of ContenTS

The Law Offices of Sabrina Li has been successful in assisting another client. We would like to share their case with you.

Our client came to us after she had been ordered removed for failure to show up to a scheduled hearing in Immigration Court. The client had hired an intermediary to help her apply for asylum. When her application for asylum was referred to Immigration Court, the intermediary helped her hire an attorney. However, the client’s attorney failed to adequately prepare her for her Individual Hearing, and when the client raised concerns, the attorney told her she did not have to attend the hearing. Because the client did not show up to her scheduled hearing, the Immigration Judge ordered her removed, and the client’s prior attorney filed an appeal for her. Her appeal, however, was dismissed as it was not the appropriate filing for an order of removal issued in an individual’s absence. Desperate for help, the client contacted our office.

The difficulty in the case is that our client had been provided notice of the scheduled hearing and had been ordered removed for over a year before contacting our office. Typically challenges to orders of removal in absentia must be filed within 180 days, with limited exceptions.

Our office moved quickly to file a Motion to Reopen our client’s removal proceedings. In our Motion to Reopen, we argued that our client’s prior attorney had provided ineffective assistance in advising her not to show up to her scheduled hearing and in failing to advise her of the possibility of a removal order for her failure to appear. We also argued that the prior attorney’s ignorance of the correct remedy for an in-absentia removal order caused the delay in timely filing the Motion to Reopen.

Our client was thrilled when the Motion to Reopen was granted, her removal order was rescinded, and her proceedings were reopened. She now has the opportunity to adequately present her case before the Immigration Court.

An removal order may be rescinded by the Court if an individual did not show up to their court hearing because they not receive proper notice of the hearing or if the failure to appear was the
result of exceptional circumstances. If that is the case, the individual must file the motion to reopen within 180 days. The time limit for filing a motion to reopen can be put on hold if the failure to file was due to the ineffective assistance of counsel in certain cases if the client otherwise acts diligently in filing the motion to reopen.

If you or someone you know faces a similar situation and requires the expertise of skilled professionals, look no further than the Law Offices of Sabrina Li. Call us today at (213) 375-8096 or email us at We are committed to providing the assistance you need, so please don't hesitate to reach out. We're here for you.

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