Circuit Court of Appeals
In some situations, you may attempt to appeal your case to the Circuit Court of Appeals. This court is assigned with the task of hearing appeals from the district courts located within its circuit, in addition to appeals of federal administrative agency decisions.
The state of Arizona is located in the ninth circuit. Therefore, if you choose to begin the process of appealing your case, you will file your appeal with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. In fact, the Ninth Circuit works with all cases originating in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and the territories of Guam and the Northern Marina Islands.
In most cases, before appealing your case to the Ninth Circuit, you must appeal your case to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). The U.S. Department of Justice states that the BIA is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws.
When considering an appeal to the Ninth Circuit, keep in mind that more is required than simply a disagreement of the lower court's decision. This means that discretionary judgments as to whether circumstances have risen to the requisite standard of “exceptional and extremely unusual hardship” or whether an alien has shown “good moral character” cannot typically be appealed at this level.
Issues that are most attractive for the Ninth Circuit regarding immigration include those related to:
- Denial of due process of law;
- Equal protection under the law;
- Ineffective assistance of counsel;
- Asylum; and
Keep in mind that the Ninth Circuit has the power to review errors or law, not of fact. An experienced attorney will ensure that when you draft your appeal, the issue is stated properly. Next, it is simply impossible for the Ninth Circuit to review every case that gets submitted. Even if you have a proper argument, you may not be granted the privilege of having your case heard by the court.
Heavy Case Load
Immigration cases make up a very large portion of those heard by the Ninth Circuit. Because of this high volume, it may take years for the court to decide your appeal. Furthermore, if you are granted your day at the Ninth Circuit, the time allotted to make your oral argument may be quite brief. Again, having a competent attorney will ensure this time is not wasted.
Do You Need an Attorney?
Partnering with an experienced, local attorney is a good idea when debating whether or not to begin the appeals process. Appealing an immigration decision can be quite costly and time consuming. As stated above, the appeals process can take years.
The financial costs and the time spent on an appeal are considerable. Due to this, it is important to weigh your options carefully before deciding to begin the appeals process.
Even with a strong argument in your favor, it will be an extremely high burden to reach in order for the Ninth Circuit to reverse a lower court's decision. That being said, your case might be robust enough to garner a reversal.
Because this decision should not be made lightly, contact a skilled immigration attorney who will explain the pros and cons of filing an appeal with the Ninth Circuit. Immigration laws are detailed and constantly changing. It is in your best interest to meet with an attorney who has experience with the appeals process in order to give you the best advantage possible with the Ninth Circuit.
To schedule an initial consultation with our Tucson, Arizona, lawyer, call (520) 882-8852 toll free at (877) 882-8852 or email the Tucson, Arizona, Law Offices of Matthew H. Green.