If you have been handed an unfavorable decision by an immigration judge, then you should immediately think about filing an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals (the “BIA”). The BIA is the highest administrative committee for interpreting and applying immigration laws. It can hear appeals from decisions made by immigration judges from around the country, and even some by the Department of Homeland Security (the “DHS”). Filing an appeal is a confusing and time consuming process. There are many deadlines that cannot be missed and formalities that must be followed if your appeal is going to be a success. At Landerholm Immigration, we know that issues dealing with your immigration status are stressful and we want to help as much as we can. If you have any questions regarding your immigration appeal, please don’t hesitate to contact us today . In the meantime, we’re here to discuss the keys to succeeding in your BIA appeal.
- Consult with an experienced attorney
In order to make sure that your appeal has the best chance at success, it’s essential to seek the help of an experienced immigration attorney. The appeals process has a lot of specific requirements and strict deadlines that, if missed, could cost you your chance at a successful appeal.
- Take notes on the judge’s decision.
When the judge gives their opinion, they will usually say whether your petition has been granted or denied at the start of it. If it is denied, you should start taking notes on what the judge says so that you know what needs to be included in your appeal. For example, pay attention to the reasons the judge gives you for not granting your petition. When you go to make your appeal, focus on any mistake you and your attorney think the judge made in deciding your case.
- Make sure you “reserve” the right to appeal.
Once the judge has finished explaining their reasons, they will ask if you would like to reserve the right to appeal. This just means that they are asking you if you want to appeal their decision. At this point, you should say that you do if there is any chance, however small, that you will want to appeal. Once you have reserved this right, ask the government’s lawyer for their mailing address or business card because you will need that information later on to mail documents. Again, this is something that your attorney can help you with.
- Don’t miss any of your deadlines!
Once you are at the filing stage, you have to be prepared to move fairly quickly. After you and your lawyer have determined the correct Federal Circuit Court of Appeals where you are to submit your appeal, your Notice of Appeal must be received by the BIA no later than 30 days after the Judge handed down their decision. Remember, this means that mailing it within 30 days is not enough because it has to arrive by the 30th day. It is also a good idea to keep proof of mailing that you receive from the post office, like tracking information or a receipt.
- File a Motion to Stay Removal
While you and your lawyer are preparing your documents for appeal, make sure you file a motion to stay removal to prevent deportation while the appeal is pending. This is automatic on your original appeal to the BIA only, but it is necessary to think about because there is no automatic stay of removal when filing a Petition for Review with a circuit court. Your attorney can help you with writing a motion asking the circuit court to “stay removal.” This means that you are asking the court not to be deported back to your country of origin while the appeal is being considered Once you have completed all of the steps above you are ready to draft your appellate brief, hopefully with the help of a trusted immigration attorney. In today’s uncertain times, it is essential that you have an experienced lawyer advocating on your behalf. At Landerholm Immigration we are prepared to defend your rights. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today for a free evaluation, or call us at (510) 491-0291.