Filing a Petition for Review of a Board of Immigration Appeals Decision
Overview of how to file a Petition for Review of a Board of Immigration Appeals Decision
The basicsA petition for review is basically an appeal of the decision of the Board of Immigration Appeals to a federal circuit court. Federal circuit courts routinely review errors made by the Board of Immigration Appeals and frequently overturn its decisions. The decision of the Board must be a final decision, subject to a few exceptions, and generally must be filed within 30 days of the Board's decision. A decision, such as a removal order, remains in effect while the appeal is pending unless the circuit court grants a stay of removal, which is difficult to obtain without the Government's consent. However, the Department of Homeland Security may be willing to grant an order of supervision, which would allow an alien to remain in the country during the pendency of the appeal. Also, an individual may file a motion to reconsider with the Board of Immigration Appeals prior to filing a petition for review, and still file the petition if that motion to reconsider is denied.
ProcedureA petition for review should be filed electronically with the circuit court which has jurisdiction over the immigration court which heard the case. For example, if the case was heard by an immigration judge in California, the Ninth Circuit would have jurisdiction, even though the Board of Immigration Appeals is located in Virginia. The relevant circuit court may have other requirements, such as filing a disclosure form, an appearance of counsel form, or a docketing statement. Once those are filed, the Government will prepare a record of the proceedings, which can serve as the record on appeal. Once the record is prepared, both sides will have a set period of time to file briefs, which will depend on the rules of the particular circuit court. The circuit court may also ask the parties to appear for oral arguments. Following their decision, an individual may be able to seek rehearing or review with the US Supreme Court.
ExpensesFiling the petition for review costs approximately $400. Most circuit courts require parties to provide published copies of briefs and the record on appeal. This is an expense that can easily run $1000-$2000 based on the number of documents that are filed in immigration proceedings. Oral argument may require travel and hotel stays. Finally, most appellate attorneys charge significant fees due to the extensive amount of preparation required for circuit court work. Circuit courts expect detailed and well-researched work if they are to consider granting a petition. However, in some cases, an individual might be able to find a legal assistance organization which would assist with the petition for no cost.