One of the most common questions we get here at Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law Group is whether it’s possible to fight a deportation order. While that’s a broad question, the qualified answer is, yes, there are a few ways to fight a deportation order. 

A lot, however, depends on timing. Generally,

  • If you never received notice of your hearing or you were in Federal or State custody, and you failed to appear at your hearing as a result, you may file a motion to reopen at any time.
  • If you received notice but failed to appear at your hearing because of exceptional circumstances, you may file a motion to reopen no later than 180 days after the immigration judge ordered you deported.
  • If the immigration judge just ordered the deportation and 30 days haven’t yet elapsed, you may appeal the order to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The BIA is part of the Department of Justice, which is separate from the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency over U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The BIA is strict with the 30-day deadline, however: missing the filing date will mean losing the right to appeal.
  • If it’s been less than 90 days since the decision, you may ask the immigration judge to reopen the proceedings and give you a different decision. In general, a motion to reopen is most likely to be successful when there’s some material change to your case. For example, a motion to reopen based on an asylum request might detail new facts about the situation in your home country and why it poses a risk to you. 
  • If it’s past 90 days, you may still ask the immigration judge to reopen the proceedings through either a joint motion to reopen (where the prosecutor (ICE) joins in the motion) or a sua sponte motion to reopen (where you ask the immigration judge to reopen the case on his or her own).


Appealing deportation orders is a time-sensitive, complicated process. If you have a deportation order, please call us at (404) 850-9394 or visit us online. We’ll be happy to look at it and tell you whether you qualify for an appeal or a motion to reopen.

Marshall Cohen
Marshall Cohen

Marshall Cohen is one of the founding principals of Antonini & Cohen. Admitted to the Georgia Bar in 1989, he has practiced immigration law exclusively for over 30 years. Mr. Cohen practices all areas of immigration law including family and employment cases, temporary and permanent visas, naturalization, deportation defense, and federal litigation.

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