In an immigration context, a Reinstatement of Orders may be applied to an alien who has illegally reentered the U.S. after previously being removed (deported) or excluded from the country.  Thus, the basis for a reinstatement of a removal order is an illegal reentry after deportation.  

For example, suppose that an alien was deported from the U.S. and returned to their home country.  The removal order contained instructions that the alien cannot reenter the U.S. until 10 years after the deportation.  If the alien violates these provisions by reentering the U.S. 2 years later, they may be subject again to removal.  In other words, the previous removal order is reinstated; hence the term “reinstatement of orders”.

An alien who is subject to a reinstatement of orders must be given written notice of the reinstatement by an immigration officer. 

Can a Reinstatement of a Removal Order be Challenged?

If an alien has received notice of a reinstatement of a removal order, they are usually allowed to submit a statement contesting the order.  If they submit such a contestation, the immigration authorities must reconsider the reinstatement.  An alien generally has no right to an in-person hearing or any other form of relief (such as an appeal) to challenge the order. 

On the other hand, immigration authorities must consider all the relevant information and evidence related to the reinstatement of removal order before they can finalize the alien’s removal from the country.  The immigration officer must:

  • Obtain the previous order of removal or exclusion
  • Determine whether the alien is in fact the person who was previously removed (or who voluntarily departed) under the prior order
  • Determine whether the alien’s reentry into the U.S. was in fact illegal

Thus, if the immigration authorities can’t determine these facts, the alien may be excused from the reinstatement of removal orders.  For example, if the alien’s fingerprints don’t match with the records for the person previously removed, the order may not be reinstated.

Are There any Exceptions to These Rules?

Yes, there are a few exceptions to rules regarding reinstatements of removal orders.  An immigration officer can’t reinstate prior removal orders for certain aliens, including:

  • Aliens who have a well-founded fear of returning to the country of removal in the prior order (such as fear of torture or persecution)
  • Aliens who are eligible applicants for an adjustment of status under the Immigration and Nationality Act
  • Aliens who have applied for adjustment of status under the Nicaraguan Adjustment and Central American Relief Act (NACARA) or the Haitian Refugee Immigrant Fairness Act (HRIFA)

Thus, protections under these provisions can cause a reinstatement of prior removal orders to have no legal effect, making them unenforceable. 

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Issues With a Reinstatement of Removal Order?

If you have any questions, issues, or legal disputes involving a reinstatement order, you may wish to contact an immigration lawyer immediately.  It may be the case that the order was wrongly issued against you, or that your identity has been confused with another person’s.  A qualified immigration attorney in your area may be able to assist you in having the reinstatement order lifted.