Three Things To Know After Your Immigration Judge Denies Your Request For Immigration Relief
It is disappointing and scary to be denied relief by a Judge, because now you have a final order of removal authorizing your removal from the US (likely back to your country). But there are still options, and, at minimum, you likely will remain in the US for several years as long as you act quickly.
You Must Appeal Your Decision To The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)Do not delay. Generally, the BIA MUST BE in receipt of your Notice of Appeal within 30 days from the day your Judge issued the decision denying immigration relief and ordering you to be removed. You will have time later to file a supporting brief, so initially, there is not much paperwork to complete and file. The all-important and critical thing is to make sure you file your Notice of Appeal to the BIA in a timely manner with the proper fee (which currently is $110).
Filing your appeal to the BIA in a timely manner all but guarantees you have an automatic stay of removal (you will not be removed to your home country) until, at minimum, your BIA appeal is resolved by the BIA, which can take anywhere from 6-12, if not much longer. And, of course, there is always the possibility that the BIA will disagree with your Immigration Court Judge, and, if so, your case is likely to return to immigration court, which means you, at minimum, will be allowed to stay in the US much longer.
Know The Difference Between Issue(s) Being Appealed, Stay of Removal, and Civil DetentionMany times after losing an immigration court case, different issues arise that are related in nature and tend to confuse the process. Generally, to better understand the process and possible outcomes, it is best to know the difference amongst the three following issues:
--Issue(s) Being Appealed. When you file an appeal with the BIA, you are telling the BIA that your Immigration Court Judge incorrectly decided your case based upon one or several bases. TIMELY filing your FIRST appeal with the BIA automatically stays (stops) the US from removing (deporting) you from the US. Sometimes, however, you might have to separately request that you are seeking a stay of removal.
--Stay of Removal. This is a request asking the BIA or another entity (ICE; Federal Appellate Court) to stop the Government from removing you from the US. Again this is automatic in limited circumstances, including when you TIMELY file your FIRST appeal to the BIA. But it is not automatic in all circumstances, and, if not, you MUST ask for a stay of removal in addition to setting forth why your appeal should be granted. Otherwise, the Government may first *detain* you before it then *removes* you from the US.
--Civil Detention. Some individuals are detained (held in custody) throughout their entire immigration court proceedings. Other individuals, however, who have been allowed to be free as long as they show up at their immigration court hearings are exposed to civil detention for the first time after they lose their immigration court case. If you have been free throughout your immigration court proceedings and you TIMELY file your FIRST appeal to the BIA, you are NOT likely to be civilly detained unless you commit a crime.
What Happens After The BIA Issues a DecisionIf your appeal to the BIA is successful, the case is likely to be remanded (sent back) to immigration court where a Judge must make further determinations that could eventually provide you with immigration relief. In any event, if the case is remanded, you will neither be removed nor detained unless you commit a crime (if you do commit a crime, you may be detained, but you will not be removed until a Judge follows the BIA's instructions and/or directives on your case).
If your appeal to the BIA is denied (unsuccessful), your final order of removal is again in full effect. Now, unfortunately, the risk of you being removed and/or detained has increased significantly. You can still avoid either outcome, *IF* you TIMELY file an appeal with your Federal Appellate Court (for example, in NY, you must file an appeal with the Second Circuit; in NJ, you must file an appeal with the Third Circuit; in California, you must file an appeal with the Ninth Circuit).
Throughout the entire process, you are strongly encouraged to work with an experienced immigration attorney, especially if you did not have an attorney during your initial immigration court proceedings. The longer you wait to hire an attorney, the more likely it is you will have less and less options available to you.
At minimum, a qualified and trustworthy attorney is likely to protect your rights before they are forever lost while also providing some clarity and comfort during this scary, complicated, and confusing process.