If you have received a decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals that you disagree with, you may appeal it in a federal court of appeals. For those in California, Washington, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Alaska or Oregon, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has jurisdiction. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has the largest jurisdiction of any appeals court; in 2017, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit had a caseload of more than 11,000.
How to Appeal an Immigration Decision in California’s 9th Circuit Court
It is possible to get a new judgment in an immigration case. The first step in the appeals process is to take your case before the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), a review board that has nationwide jurisdiction over all immigration courts. An appeal to the BIA usually produces a decision within 180 days but may take as long as 18 months. In most circumstances, you must file an appeal with the BIA prior to appealing to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.
If you are not satisfied with the decision by the Board of Immigration Appeals, you may file an appeal with the 9th Circuit Court. In general, the Ninth Circuit Court will only hear appeals regarding denials of asylum or deportation orders following a criminal conviction.
The Immigration Appeal Process
The process to appeal a Board of Immigration Appeals decision is complex and rigid. Unless you have specialized legal training, your case is best served by hiring a very experienced immigration attorney like Eric Price.
You will have 30 days following the BIA decision to file a Notice of Appeal and pay the $505 filing fee. If you miss this deadline, you will lose the ability to appeal your immigration judgment. Your attorney must detail in a brief the error that the lower court or BIA committed that supports the appeal. If the court chooses to hear the appeal, a panel of three judges will adjudicate the case and render opinions after hearing your attorney’s oral arguments. This process may take a long time—three years is normal—due to the backlog of cases.
It is important to understand that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals will not hear every appeals case; that is why you will almost certainly need expert legal representation to draft a convincing appeal and argue the merits of the appeal before the panel. If your appeal is denied by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, your appeals process is effectively terminated (the U.S. Supreme Court almost never takes up immigration cases).
Does Every Immigration Case Present an Oral Argument?
Due to the large number of appeals cases, few appellants are chosen to make oral arguments. If you are selected, you will not need to appear in court, but your attorney will be expected to explain to the judges why they should reverse the lower court’s decision. During oral arguments, your attorney may not present new facts but must demonstrate how the judicial process has been flawed up that point.
It often takes a highly experienced and knowledgeable lawyer to convince appellate judges that another immigration body has made a legal error. Because most immigration appeals decisions are based on legal briefs rather than oral arguments, it requires an extremely skilled lawyer to write a compelling brief and manage an appeals case. That is why it is in your best interests to hire an attorney like Eric Price who has expertise in many immigration law specialties.
Tips to Increase the Chances of Winning Your Immigration Appeal
If you are preparing to appeal your immigration, you should consider the following advice:
Check the 9th Circuit Rules
Failure to follow the court’s many rules and procedures may damage your case’s chances of success.
Use Acronyms Sparingly
Most judges appreciate the use of full words and phrases rather than acronyms which may be confusing. If you do include acronyms, also include a key to explain their full meaning.
Use Quotes Instead of Paraphrasing
Whenever possible include the exact wording that someone spoke or wrote, instead of an inaccurate paraphrasing.
Explain Complicated Concepts to the Law Clerk
Law clerks manage many judicial procedures, but they may not possess as much legal expertise as lawyers or judges, so it is helpful to explain more complex legal concepts in the simplest terms possible.
Organize Your Brief
You should present your legal argument in the clearest manner possible. This includes emphasizing key issues and delineating every step in your logic.
Be Specific About What You Want
It is essential that you describe exactly what outcome the court should produce in your brief.
Watch Your Tone
At all times, you want to maintain a respectful tone towards all involved parties. Any disparaging terms like “stupid”, “dishonest,” or “unethical” applied to legal bodies or officials are more likely to hurt your case than help it.
There are currently more than 800,000 immigrations cases pending the U.S., so it may take years for the 9th Circuit to render a decision.
How Long is the Appeal Process?
It usually takes months or years for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to come to a decision in an immigration appeal. On average, you can expect a civil immigration appeal to take from 12 to 20 months between the date of the Notice of Appeal is filed until an oral argument is heard. For a criminal appeal, the average time from filing the appeal brief until oral arguments is four to five months. In most cases, the final decision is delivered within three to twelve months.
The Trump Administration and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
The 9th Circuit Court has a mixed record when it comes to supporting the immigration policies of the Trump administration. In late 2018, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered a stay in implementation of the administration’s asylum ban. The 9th Circuit also supported the rights of “sanctuary cities” to refuse to cooperate with federal immigration agencies. However, the 9th Circuit did support the administration policy of sending asylum-seekers to Mexico while they waited on a decision.
The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has had a reputation for favoring liberal positions, like blocking the shutdown of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration program. Although this does not guarantee success of a specific immigration appeal, it does make the 9th Circuit Court a preferred judiciary for immigration lawyers.
Contact Attorney Eric Price Today!
If you require outstanding legal counsel for your immigration appeal case, you should discuss your case with Eric Price. Eric Price has extensive experience with immigration appeals and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. He previously served as the Assistant Chief Counsel for Immigration and Customs Enforcement under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. As the attorney in more than 1,000 cases in U.S. immigration court, Eric Price has a proven track record of success and client dedication. Contact LA’s best immigration attorney today for more help.