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Board Of Immigration Appeals (BIA)

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is an appellate body within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of the…

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is an appellate body within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) of the United States Department of Justice. The BIA consists of a group of 23 judges who review certain appeals made by Immigration Judges and district directors of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The BIA’s role is to ensure that immigration laws remain fair and uniform in the way they are applied.

Specifically, the BIA reviews certain decisions from lower U.S. immigration courts, as well as multiple government agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), U.S Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The BIA uses a case-by-case basis to decide on each matter, and the judges’ decisions are binding on all Immigration Judges and DHS officers.

If a noncitizen’s immigration case has been denied, such as their removal case, an attorney can submit an appeal to the BIA on their behalf. A noncitizen can submit their own appeal, although they must strictly follow the process for doing so, and present their own arguments to the BIA in writing.

This appeal process is vital, as it is the final step that a noncitizen will face in their removal case, and their last chance to get a favorable decision from the Executive Office for Immigration Review. The BIA, which is the highest authorized court, will make a final ruling on their case.
Other examples of the type of cases that the BIA reviews include, but are not limited to:

  • Asylums
  • Motions to reopen and reconsider
  • Denial of bond or parole
  • Family-based immigrant petition
  • Waivers of inadmissibility

When an immigration case has been denied, if it is to be appealed, then a Notice of Appeal must be received by the BIA within 30 calendar days. The BIA generally takes 6 to 12 months or longer to return a decision. In the case of removals, the BIA may issue a stay automatically or if it is requested, so that an order of removal or deportation will not be executed against a noncitizen while their appeal is pending.

The role of the BIA is critical because not only is it the last resort for noncitizens to have their immigration cases reviewed, but the BIA’s rulings can also be used by immigration attorneys to support their clients’ cases, or by immigration agencies to set precedents as it relates to denials or approvals.

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