Even a well-prepared case may be denied the first time around. Some Immigration Judges have a 94% denial rate for asylum applications and certain immigration court locations in some states have much worse approval rates than other areas. The laws also vary depending on the place where you live and what Circuit Court has jurisdiction where you reside.
A denied asylum case in removal proceedings can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals. But appeals can be complicated. An attorney with strong litigation skills is key to ensuring that the record of what happened in your case is well-prepared and documented if you have to file an appeal since new evidence is usually not allowed on appeal. Your best shot at winning a case on appeal and overturning a Judge’s decision is putting your best case forward from the start.
An appeal allows an applicant’s case to be reviewed by a court or agency above the immigration judge or agency that decided the original petition. On appeal, the documentation and other evidence submitted, and what occurred at the hearings is reviewed. There can be multiple appeals levels, beginning with the Immigration Court (if you filed an affirmative application), to the Board of Immigration Appeals, and ending with the U.S. Supreme Court.
But there are strict rules apply to pursue an appeal. Appeals have important deadlines and they are short. A notice of appeal must be properly filed by a certain deadline. Parties must file their legal briefs within a set schedule ordered by the Board, usually shortly after filing the notice of appeal. Appeals come with other challenges as well besides time. If your case is accepted for an appeal, you may have to testify orally for your case. Further, higher courts will only review specific types of arguments for review – your whole case cannot be challenged on appeal.
The appeals process is complicated and needs an attorney who is can navigate the various agencies involved. In addition, an appeal can take a lot of time before you get a decision – they stay pending for several months or even years. You need to be prepared for the long haul.
Our attorneys are regularly approached to help those who were previously represented by other attorneys or tried to file a case themselves and received a denial. We regularly handle appeals on some of the toughest cases. Even for those who have already filed the appeal and the appeal is pending now, we may be able to help. We also help in preparing clients for an upcoming hearing. You usually get one shot at an appeal. It’s vital to make sure you have an attorney with experience and knowledge of the process on your side to advise you.