Louisiana Immigration Law Firm

Ashley Dees LLC is now Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP. Please visit www.bal.com for more information.

Are the Rulings of an Immigration Judge Able to Be Appealed?

It is fairly common knowledge that the ruling of a criminal court judge or a civil court judge can be appealed if the disfavored party thinks a technical error corrupted the judge’s decision. Does the same chance to appeal exist within an immigration law court? If an immigration judge (IJ) has ordered your removal or deportation, can you appeal to turn that decision around?

When You Can Appeal an IJ’s Ruling

In most immigration law cases, you actually can file for an appeal against the immigration judge’s ruling, even if your time in the country is literally running out. You cannot appeal if you already waived your right to file for an appeal – read all of your court documents carefully before signing anything – or if the window to file expires; you may have also been coerced into waiving your appeal if you verbally agreed that the judge’s ruling was “final” while still standing in the courtroom. Since a deportation proceeding can conclude in a matter of weeks, you should assume your window to appeal is even briefer and get to work right away. In fact, immigration judge rulings have a 30-day time limit for appeals by default.

If you can appeal your claim still, you will most likely need to file it to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). This group is not technically a higher court, like a Supreme or Superior Court, but it serves essentially the same purpose, only for immigration cases. You can either ask the BIA to review and “reconsider” your case for mistakes that went against your favor, or you can petition to have the case entirely reopened. If the BIA reopens your case, you can actually submit new evidence to be weighed. Once the BIA gives its opinion on the matter, though, the case is closed again, for better or for worse.

Why You Might Not Want to Appeal

In some unusual circumstances, appealing an immigration judge’s decision might not be exactly what you want to do. It seems unusual but accepting the removal process is beneficial.

You might not want to file for an appeal to the BIA if:

  • You do not have the finances to pursue an appeal.
  • You are held in detention and desperately want out – filing for an appeal will keep you in detention until the BIA reviews or reconsiders your case.
  • Someone who made your legal permanent resident status valid has left your life, such as a spouse that has subsequently divorced you.

Going through a removal case – or any immigration law dispute – can be a difficult prospect if you are not well-versed in the nature of legalese and regulations. Choosing to appeal a decision and knowing how to build your appeal case can be even more complex. Improve your odds of success and take stress out of the equation by working with Berry Appleman & Leiden LLP and our Louisiana immigration law attorneys for help. We are proud to say that we have successfully managed cases for thousands of immigration clients.

Let us review your case and determine how or if you should appeal. Contact us online today.