An unfavorable decision from U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCIS) or another federal entity responsible for enforcing United States immigration law can have a life-changing impact on you. In certain cases, it can also have a major impact on your family. Fortunately, it is possible to appeal a decision made regarding certain immigration matters to higher authorities within the federal government, who may be able to resolve procedural and personal errors.

No matter what type of appeal you want to pursue, having help from a San Diego immigration appeals lawyer is absolutely essential to achieving a positive resolution. Appellate processes for immigration cases can be specific and complex, and individuals who proceed with appeals without a qualified immigration attorney’s support often have slim odds of getting a decision reversed.

Agencies with Authority Over Immigration Appeals

Most immigration appeals proceed through either the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) or the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the former of which has greater authority than the latter. A San Diego attorney can explain in more detail how these entities work, and provide guidance about how to interact with during the immigration appeals process.

The BIA is part of the U.S. Department of Justice and primarily handles appeals of rulings made by judges in immigration courts. Anyone who wants to appeal a deportation order or continue the process of seeking withholding of removal after an initial rejection would need to pursue an appeal through this Board. The BIA also:

  • Oversees appeals for most asylum cases
  • Decides whether immigration cases that were previously closed should be reopened
  • Have the authority to overturn denials of immigration bonds

Conversely, the AAO is responsible for processing appeals of decisions made by USCIS. This means that anyone who is dissatisfied with the outcome of an immigrant or non-immigrant visa application—including people applying for fiancé(e) visas, T visas, or U visas—generally must appeal their case to this Office. Other appeals that the AAO handles include those pertaining to Temporary Protected Status application, waivers of inadmissibility, and permission to reapply for admission into the U.S. after prior removal.

When Can Immigration Matters Be Appealed Directly to Courts?

In some cases, claimants can progress their appeal past an unfavorable decision from the BIA or from USCIS in certain cases up to a federal appellate court. Specifically, that refers to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for claimants in San Diego and elsewhere throughout California. This court may also hear cases involving unreasonable USCIS processing delays, naturalization application denials, unlawful confinement, and certain denials of removal orders.

Finally, anyone who fears they would be subject to torture, persecution, or some other form of severe harm following expedited removal or summary deportation to their country of origin may seek a review of their case by an immigration officer. Subsequently, they can appeal an unfavorable decision by that officer to an immigration court. There are no further appeals possible after that immigration court’s decision, so representation from a lawyer in San Diego can be particularly important in this situation.

Discuss Legal Options with a San Diego Immigration Appeals Attorney

The specific steps involved in an appeal of a negative immigration case result will vary substantially depending on exactly what the case involves. It will also depend on whether the claimant has filed any other appeals over the same matter. Regardless, legal representation is almost always a requirement for anyone who wants to maximize their chances of appealing their case successfully.

A capable San Diego immigration appeals lawyer could provide the skills and support you need to effectively protect your rights. Call the Hacking Immigration Law, LLC today for a consultation.