BIA and 9th Circuit Appeals 

Some people will be aware that not everything always goes your way, but many others can be surprised when they do not get the outcomes they were hoping for while appearing in court. Immigration cases often result in adverse decisions for all sorts of applicants, but it is important for every single person to understand that they often have appeal rights in these cases.

When an immigration case is initially filed, it will be handled by an immigration judge, and a person who disagrees with an immigration judge’s decision can appeal that case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). If there is an issue with a BIA decision, then the next step would be an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

How BIA Cases Work

When an immigration judge denies a person’s claim, they have 30 days to appeal the decision to the BIA. You appeal by filing Form EOIR-26.

The BIA is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws, and is located at Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) headquarters in Falls Church, Virginia. The BIA generally does not conduct courtroom proceedings and decides appeals by conducting paper reviews of cases, although the BIA will hear oral arguments of appealed cases at its headquarters.

The BIA has nationwide jurisdiction to hear appeals from decisions rendered by immigration judges and district directors of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). BIA decisions are binding on all DHS officers and immigration judges unless modified or overruled by the Attorney General or a federal court.

The BIA reviews all of the evidence submitted to the immigration judge but does not consider any new evidence. A decision from the BIA can take at least six months, often more than a year.

A BIA decision is not always easy to digest, as it is always possible that the BIA sends the case back to the immigration judge with new instructions. If BIA outright overturns the judge’s original decision, then a person could have relief from deportation.

When a case is sent back to an immigration judge, a person should prepare to be asked to submit many additional forms of evidence. BIA can also outright deny an appeal, which

means the next step will be appealing to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

How Ninth Circuit Cases Work

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit handles cases predominantly in the western United States, including not only California but also Hawaii, Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Idaho, Montana, and Nevada. After a BIA denial, a person will file a Petition for Review with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

It is important to understand that filing an appeal with the Ninth Circuit will not automatically delay any order of removal. People who want to remain inside the United States while the Ninth Circuit looks at an appeal must file a Motion to Stay Removal with their appeal.

Just like the BIA, the Ninth Circuit will not consider any new evidence as it only looks at the evidence that was originally submitted. A Ninth Circuit decision can also take considerable time to render, and most people have to wait more than two years.

When you win a Ninth Circuit case, the court may just grant you permission to remain in the United States. It is also possible that the Ninth Circuit will send the case back down to the BIA or the immigration judge, and a person could be denied a second time.

If a person loses their Ninth Circuit case, there are not many options remaining. They can request a rehearing within 45 days of the original decision.

There is also the option for a rehearing “en banc,” which means a larger group of judges hears the case, although such motions are rarely granted. You can also ask the Supreme Court of the United States to overrule the Ninth Circuit’s decision by filing a writ of certiorari with the Supreme Court, but writs are even rarer than en banc motions.

Call Us Today to Speak with a Los Angeles BIA and 9th Circuit Appeals Attorney

If you have an immigration case that has not been working out as you hoped and now need to appeal, make sure that you have skilled legal counsel by your side. The Law Office of Todd Becraft handles all kinds of immigration appeals for clients all over California.

Our firm will invest the necessary time to fully prepare for your hearing and present the strongest possible arguments in your case. Call (213) 388-1821 or contact us online to schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles BIA and 9th Circuit appeals attorney.