This article provides a summary of how an immigration appeal before the Board of Immigration Appeals is conducted; but first, an explanation of the BIA’s role is provided.

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is part of the Executive Office of Immigration Review (EOIR), which is an independent agency within the Department of Justice (DOJ). EOIR adjudicates immigration cases by interpreting federal immigration laws. EOIR consists of three components: (1) the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge. This is the organ that manages the immigration courts nation-wide. Immigration judges preside over immigration courts and they are in charge of adjudicating individual cases everyday; (2) the BIA, which conducts appellate reviews of immigration judges’ decisions, and some decisions from USCIS district directors; and (3) the Office the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer, which adjudicates immigration-related employment cases. Thus, after the United States Supreme Court, the BIA is the maximum immigration authority interpreting immigration laws in the United States (U.S.). For this reason, BIA’s decisions are significant for the explanation of federal immigration statutes.

How the BIA appeal works: once the immigration judge (IJ) renders his/her final order, an alien has 30 (thirty) days to appeal that decision before the BIA. The process is as follows: first, the alien files the notice of appeal with its respective payment; then, the BIA is going to send a briefing schedule. The briefing schedule gives the alien some time to submit a legal brief describing his/her arguments in support of the appeal. If the alien does not send its legal brief on time, the appeal would be dismissed. This means, the alien loses his/her case and the case is concluded. If the alien submits his/her legal brief, the BIA will take some time to decide. Once the BIA renders its decision, technically speaking, the immigration case is over. Yet, in certain cases when the decision is adverse to the alien, aliens may appeal before the U.S. Federal Court for the Circuit where the alien resides. This federal appeal must be filed within 30 days after the BIA renders its decision. The BIA appeal process takes about 8 to 12 months, and even longer, depending on the complexity of the legal issue under review.

Immigration attorney Martha L. Arias helps aliens with their appeals before the BIA. She files the notice of appeal; and she researches, studies, prepares, and files the legal brief on time. Attorney Martha Arias has extensive experience handling BIA appeals. In addition to the appeals, attorney Martha Arias represents clients in their motions to reopen before the BIA. Certain concluded BIA appeals may be reopened depending on the facts and circumstances of each case. Attorney Martha Arias will analyze your case and determine whether a motion to reopen can be filed. If a motion to reopen is filed and granted, the case may be remanded to the IJ for further adjudication. For instance, an alien who was ordered deported long time ago and his/her appeal was dismissed, and later married a U.S. citizen and has an approved I-130, may filed a motion to reopen to have his/her case remanded to the IJ for adjustment of status. Every case must be analyzed according to its facts. So, call attorney Martha L. Arias now and find out if you can appeal your case or file a motion to reopen.

Martha L. Arias, Esq. - Immigration Law Attorney