Our Immigration Appeals Attorney In Los Angeles Explain The Process Behind Filing An Immigration Appeal
After an Immigration Judge denies your ability to stay in the U.S., you have one last option: request an appeal. If approved, the judge will refer you to one of two agencies that will review your case. Both operate under the Department of Justice but function independently to conduct immigration reviews. The DOJ itself is a federal agency run by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Unfortunately, the next few weeks or months can leave you feeling discouraged. The possibility remains that you can get denied for a third or fourth time without the best Los Angeles appeals lawyer by your side. We can help you file an immigration appeal or motion that temporarily extends your time in the U.S. However, there are several things you must be aware of before your case gets reviewed. At The Law Offices of Todd Becraft, our team can help you transform an unfavorable decision into a better circumstance.
Immigration Appeals: How Do They Work?
Toward the end of your last hearing, the immigration judge will decide whether to grant you an appeal. Two offices that handle them are the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). Each handles drastically different immigration cases.
Statute of Limitations for Immigration Appeal
The statute of limitations to file an appeal is 30 calendar days after the judge’s initial decision. A Notice of Appeal, payment, or waiver request must be in the hands of a BIA official within that period. If you miss the window to file, you risk losing out on getting your case re-reviewed. Keep in mind that calendar days are not business days.
Weekends and holidays are accounted for, which means you have less time to act. The only exception is if the deadline falls on a legal holiday or has a weekend date. It would get pushed to the next business day. An LA immigration appeals attorney would recommend expediting the delivery well in advance of the deadline or leaving it in the hands of a trusted law firm.
The deadline for AAO appeals is slightly different. Non-citizens should submit Form I-290B within 30 calendar days as well. However, if the decision got mailed to you, the deadline gets extended for an additional three days (total 33).
Additionally, non-citizens must file an appeal of decisions through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to revoke the approval of an immigration petition within 15 calendar days after the judge decides (18 if mailed).
The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is the highest administrative agency for interpreting and applying immigration laws. They have nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals from immigration judges and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on occasion. It makes it easier for them to execute an immigration-based decision.
The BIA headquarters is in Falls Church, Virginia. However, as an appellant, you do not need to appear in person, making the process less complicated for immigrants living as far as California. They do not provide courtroom proceedings – instead, they conduct “paper reviews.” Because the process is delicate, we recommend referring to an LA immigration appeals attorney to help prep and send the agency-required supplemental paperwork. They only hear oral arguments of appealed cases in the office if it falls under an “extraordinary circumstance.”
The BIA has control over various types of immigration actions. Not all of them qualify for an appeal, but a few of the most seen cases include:
Deportation, removal, and exclusion orders
Asylum and relief from removal
Family-based immigration petitions, among other denials
Motions regarding bond or parole
Cancellation of adjustment of status
Any decisions made through the BIA are final and binding. Although powerful, the agency is still subject to judicial review by the federal courts.
The Administrative Appeals Office (AAO) is the second-highest administrative agency. Any case that does not get handled through the BIA gets conducted through them. According to the USCIS, AAO is only allowed to make non-precedent decisions. That means any rulings are binding between the parties involved. However, it does not create or modify immigration policies or practices. The USCIS also has a right to take on an appeal and provide additional guidance to determine how an application should proceed. An immigration appeals lawyer in LA would find that this process is more intricate and complicated than BIA proceedings.
The AAO has control over more than 50 immigration case types. They do not consider the following appeals:
Rejected appeals for immigration benefits.
Applications and petitions that were abandoned and got administratively terminated.
Withdrawn petitions and applications are not accepted.
Denied motions to reopen or reconsider immigration status after a field office makes the final decision.
AAO decisions determined as unfavorable (appeal, motion, certification.
If you received a deportation and removal order, turn to our Los Angeles immigration law firm for immediate assistance. The purpose of going to either agency is to demonstrate how an immigration judge’s ruling was incorrect due to:
Assistance from an unfit attorney
You are more likely to present your case to the BIA. Read on for a detailed outline of the entire process.
Before The Appeals Process (BIA and AAO)
During an immigration court proceeding, the judge will give non-citizens a chance to confirm or deny the request to appeal. If not, immigrants can tell the judge that he or she wants to reserve the right to reopen the case, too. Keep in mind that the government can also file against an unfavorable decision, contributing to the number of odds against you.
If you deny the chance to appeal, the deportation process will begin right after the hearing to remove you from the country.
What Is Needed to File an Appeal (BIA)?
The judge will provide appellants with an informational guide. The required forms should be inside. If the appellant has an immigration appeals lawyer in Los Angeles, the paperwork gets sent to the legal counsel.
If the immigrant does not have an attorney for appeals, he or she should request a mailing address or business card from a DHS lawyer. The address is crucial, as it will be where the Notice of Appeal (and related documents) get submitted.
With an attorney, appellants can request their counsel to serve papers on their behalf, as long as it gets received within 30 days.
What Is Needed to File an Appeal (AAO)?
To appeal, a non-citizen must have good legal standing. Without it, he or she will get referred to as an “affected party.”
Per USCIS standards, immigrants have legal standing in an appeal before the agency, while the beneficiary of petitions or third parties does not.
During this time, beneficiaries of employment-based immigrant visas can still change jobs or employers if requested via the Immigration and Nationality Act. As an “affected party,” they are eligible to appeal decisions regarding their visa. However, the USCIS must determine the beneficiary’s eligibility.
Overall, if non-citizens do not have legal standing, the USCIS will reject the appeal. Always review your form with a skilled appeals lawyer. Any mistake will be detrimental, and you will not receive a refund for the filing fee.
Filing Fees: Costs May Vary
The cost to appeal your deportation case and submit documents to the BIA is $110. The fee gets waived for claims regarding bonds or appealable asylum requests. A Notice of Appeal should also incorporate the following:
Money order or valid check for the amount specified (filing fee), or
A BIA Appeal Fee Waiver Request (Form EOIR-26A).
You can get a check or money order from any financial institution in the U.S. Either should get made out to the United States Department of Justice. If it is not clear what the check is for, the application can get rejected. Money orders are the safest option because a bank will do it on your behalf. Attorney fees do not get reflected in the price.
Fee waivers do not get granted by a simple submission. You need to prove economic hardship or incapacity has hindered your ability to pay. The form will ask for your monthly income and expenses. Note that lying can result in criminal prosecution and impact your chances of ever becoming a naturalized American.
Avoid Representing Your Appeals Case Before the BIA Alone
You have every right to represent yourself during the appeals process. But as a non-native, you may not be well-versed in the laws or policies. For instance, failing to complete the paperwork in English is automatic grounds for dismissal. A Los Angeles immigration appeals attorney can help you navigate through strict rules and regulations. If you do not want to retain our services entirely, you can still count on us for a free consultation and partial legal assistance.
A complete understanding of how the BIA operates is necessary to negotiate decisions and to articulate arguments successfully. Last year, 1,122,697 cases were pending before immigration courts through March 31, according to The Center for Immigration Studies. Only 95,422 were pending before the BIA. Overall, the U.S. had to conduct removal proceedings for 144,548 out of 192,247 decisions (75%) through the second quarter. The reality is that the process can be challenging and bring out harsh results.
If you cannot find a lawyer, the Department of Justice (DOJ) can provide you with a list of pro bono firms. The maximum hours available to you are 50 per year of free legal services to help, but it is seldom enough in an immigration hearing. The Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Immigration Legal Assistance Project is one of many to offer additional free or low-cost lawyers.
Is A Stay Automatically Granted?
It can take between 6 months to one year, if not longer, to go through the process. It depends on the nature of your case or the number of pending appeals. Fortunately, any immigrant issued a deportation order can stay while they wait for the BIAs response. In legal terms, “stay” is an order preventing ICE from removing you.
Not all stays are automatic. Immigrants must request a petition in cases where it is optional. For instance, the BIA can initiate an emergency stay request for those in physical custody facing immediate deportation. Outside of that, we advise clients to re-confirm their status before moving forward. Sometimes non-emergency stay requests are exchanged for emergency stays if an immigrant is in custody while their case is pending.
The Final Verdict
In the end, you may not receive the verdict you wanted. A LA immigration appeals attorney recommends pursuing your case further. Many BIA decisions can get appealed further. In California, final decisions would get turned to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. There are two courts – one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco.
Need Help with Your Immigration Appeal? Reach Out to Our Immigration Attorney Today!
At The Law Offices of Todd Becraft, our immigration attorneys recognize how overwhelming the visa, immigration, and naturalization processes can be. Each client deserves an individualized approach that pertains to their unique situation. When you choose us – you can expect a thorough analysis of your case, extensive preparation, combined with our years of experience and expertise. Our commitment to excellence, and thoughtful approach to a diverse range of immigration matters, set us apart from other law firms. Contact us if you are inquiring about:
Deportation & Removal
Victims of Crimes
Todd Becraft relocated from New York to Los Angeles in 1995 and began practicing immigration law in 2000. Just nine short years later, he purchased the law practice of Timothy Everett, an immigration judge. Today he is still advocating for immigrants and non-immigrants on their path to citizenship in America. Alongside him are paralegals Sandy Gomez and Dennis Escobar, who are both native Angelinos. En Español. If you have a legal concern in one of our immigration practice areas, call 213-388-1821 or email email@example.com to schedule a free consultation!