Circuit Court Petitions for Review in Immigration Cases

 If an alien loses his/her case before the BIA, in most cases, he/she has the right to file a petition for review in the U.S. Court of Appeals. A petition for review must be filed within 30 days of the BIA’s decision.

When one files a petition for review, his/her goal is to convince the Court of Appeals that the decisions of the BIA or the Immigration Judge contained errors. This is done by submitting a written brief which explains to the circuit court judges the errors that were made by the BIA or the immigration judge. Occasionally, there will be oral argument before the circuit court judges.

An oral argument before the U.S. Court of Appeals is held before three judges. Counsel for the alien, and counsel for the U.S. Government, present their respective arguments, and respond to the questions put to them by the judges. Several months later, the court issues its written decision.

From time to time, the attorneys will negotiate an agreement while the petition for review is pending before the court. Naturally, the attorney for the alien will not enter into an agreement unless it is, in some way, beneficial for his or her client.