Appeals and Litigation

Appeals and Litigation

Appeals and Litigation

There are options if a case is denied, delayed, or if someone is unlawfully detained. Melanie Shapiro has experience with appeals before the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), and before the U.S. Courts of Appeals.  She also has experience suing the government in the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Denials from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services

If an applicant’s case is denied before USCIS, they have 30 days to appeal to the AAO, or to request to reopen and/ or reconsider the case.

Appeals process with the Immigration Court

If a case is denied before the Immigration Court, and the respondent is ordered removed, there are a couple of options.

First, the respondent can file a timely motion to reconsider or reopen the case within 30 days if there is new information or evidence that would not have been reasonably available at the individual hearing or if there is a change in circumstances.

Second, and most often, the respondent can file an appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals. The BIA is a nationwide appellate court of 23 judges, based in Falls Church, VA. It is the highest administrative body interpreting and applying immigration laws.

If the BIA denies the respondent’s case, the next step is to file a petition for review with the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeals. There are 11 Circuit Courts in the U.S. The location of the immigration court that rendered the decision determines which circuit presides over the respondent’s appeal. For example, cases appealed from the BIA that originated in the Boston Immigration Court are heard by the First Circuit Court of Appeals.

Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts

A writ of mandamus lawsuit – a request to the Court to force (mandate) USCIS to make a decision on a case.  This does not mean that the case will be approved, but it is used to compel USCIS to decide.

Habeas corpus (“you have the body”) petitions can be used to challenge unlawful detention, prolonged detention, or conditions of release.