Board Of Immigration Appeals

Written by Patricia Tunstall
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The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) functions as a court of appeals for applicants who have been disapproved for permanent residence. The applicant may file a waiver, and if that is denied, an appeal may then be filed with the BIA. If this appeal is also denied, the decision can be reviewed by the U.S. Attorney General, or a federal court.

The BIA is the highest administrative body on immigration matters in the country, and its decisions are binding on all Department of Home Security (DHS) agencies and bureaus. The BIA is separate from the DHS, and, therefore, independent of it. DHS is an enforcement entity, but the Board of Immigration Appeals is responsible for the interpretation and adjudication of immigration cases. A part of the Department of Justice (DOJ), the BIA is charged with applying the immigration laws impartially throughout the nation.

Attorneys and the Board of Immigration Appeals

The BIA is not a court, although it functions like one, and its decisions can be reviewed in federal courts. The cases it hears involve two parties, one, the DHS, and the other, a citizen or alien. Because of its independence from the DHS, the Board is able to effectively interpret the immigration laws without regard to the power of that department.

At this stage of an application's progress, or lack of it, immigration attorneys would be the key to success in the court-like procedures. Trained in the intricacies of immigration law and well-versed in case law on the subject, knowledgeable attorneys can apply their expertise to an applicant's appeal. At this critical juncture, a hearing before the Board of Immigration Appeals is best left to professionals.


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