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Immigration Law Article: Board of Immigration Appeals

The worst thing in your life just happened. An immigration judge just ruled against you in your deportation or removal or exclusion hearing, or on some other life changing matter in your immigration case. Where can you turn? What can you do? Is the decision final or can you challenge it? Do you need a lawyer?

If something like this just happened to you, it may be that you can challenge the decision of the immigration judge by filing an appeal with the Board of Immigration Appeals. The Board has broad jurisdiction in immigration matters, but it cannot help you if the decision with which you are unhappy relates to a matter that is not within its jurisdiction.

Some of the matters where The Board has no jurisdiction, and therefore cannot help you, include the denial by the Department of Homeland Security of an adjustment of status application, the denial of an application for advanced parole, decisions on employment-based immigrant visa petitions, and denial of a K-1 fiancée visa application or a K-3 marriage visa application.

The Board of Immigration Appeals does have jurisdiction, however, to hear appeals relating to many immigration matters including, for example, decisions by immigration judges about deportation, removal, or exclusion from the United States.

Click Here to read the Board of Immigration Appeals Practice Manual (in PDF format)

An individual is allowed to represent himself or herself at the Board of Immigration Appeals. An individual can also be represented by a lawyer, of course, or by an accredited representative or by a limited number of other persons who are expressly authorized to appear on their behalf at the Board of Immigration Appeals.

Accredited representatives work for certain nonprofit religious, charitable, social service, or similar organizations that have been recognized and authorized by the Board to represent aliens. They should not be confused with so called “immigration specialists,” “visa consultants,” “notaries,” and “asesorios,” or even “paralegals,” none of whom are authorized to represent aliens before the Board of Immigration appeals.

The only time that an alien will be able to have conversations with his or her representative that are protected by the attorney-client privilege is when they are represented by an attorney. This could be extremely important in immigration matters, so a decision to be represented by anyone other than an attorney should not be made lightly.

The filing rules with the Board of Immigration Appeals are very strict. They are stricter in some ways than papers that are filed in civil courts of law. The place of filing can vary, as can the method of filing and the time of filing. Motions must be prepared in a particular way, with all required attachments. Motions and other pleadings must be filed within the strict deadlines for filing. Failure to file properly can have a devastating effect. Rights can be lost. Appeals can be lost. Families can be separated, sometimes for years, when mistakes are made.

As a service to our clients, we have prepared this article and attached the Rules that govern practicing before the Board of Immigration Appeals. We did this so that clients and prospective clients can make informed decisions about whether or not to hire an attorney to represent them before the Board of Immigration Appeals. You can call us with any questions.

Click Here to read the Board of Immigration Appeals Practice Manual (in PDF format)


Copyright 2014 By Lee Solomon

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