The primary cause I see for clients receiving an order of deportation or removal is their inability to appear at their immigration court hearings or their lack of knowledge about it.  Some clients don’t appear in court because they are afraid.  Others simply don’t know about their hearings due to language issues or failure to keep their address current with the court to receive notices.  Regardless of the reasons for not appearing for their court hearings, the law placed the burden on the clients to show why they failed to come to court for the court to reopen their cases.  This is not an easy task.  

Today, we will cover the “fear” reason for not appearing in court.  Immigration courts, the Board of Immigration Appeals, and Court of Appeals have held, generally, that missing a hearing because one is afraid of being deported is not a reason that is excused or recognized by the law.  On the contrary, courts have held that fear of deportation should incentivize one to go to court.  So, do not listen to friends, family, or neighbors who tell you that you will be deported for appearing in court.  This is rarely the case.  Always seek the advice of a lawyer before making this radical decision because, remember, it is very difficult to convince a judge to reopen your case once you have been given an order of deportation.

GANG RECRUITMENT CASES

Many clients who flee their country of origin for the U.S. do so due to harm caused for their refusal to join a gang. We have seen cases where clients have suffered tremendously because of it.  Unfortunately, gang recruitment cases, without more, are not a basis for an asylum claim. In a very important case from 2008, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) held that Salvadoran youth who have been subjected to recruitment efforts by the MS-13 gang and who have resisted or rejected membership in the gang based on their own personal, moral, and religious opposition to the gang’s values and activities are not eligible for asylum.  The BIA also held that such a group’s family members are not eligible.  The case is called Matter of S-E-G-.  

Although you are someone who may have suffered from resisting gang recruitment, understand this.  However, there may be other reliefs that you could be eligible for.  So, please speak to our lawyers to find out what may be available.

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