Roxana V. Muro is a knowledgeable immigration attorney with years of experience. Contact the Law Offices of Roxana V. Muro at 909-297-1860 with any immigration issues you may have.

What are Federal Courts of Appeal?

In the United States, federal courts are split into three levels, organized in a hierarchy. District Courts are generally the first courts to hear federal cases. Federal Courts of Appeals are the intermediate court. The Supreme Court of the United States is the final arbiter on all cases that come before it. Each court’s decisions are binding to the courts below it within its jurisdiction.

For purposes of the federal judicial system, the United States is split into 12 geographic regions, called circuits. Each circuit has a Federal Court of Appeals with jurisdiction over that region. For example, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Puerto Rico make up the First Circuit. The First Circuit is overseen by the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit. All judicial decisions made by the First Circuit Court of Appeals are binding on the states and territories within the First Circuit. All decisions made by Federal Courts of Appeal can be appealed to and overruled by the Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court generally only hears about 1% of the cases appealed to it. So, in most circumstances, the decision of the Federal Appellate Court will be the final, binding decision.

Federal Courts of Appeal and Immigration Law

Immigration cases proceed in a slightly different manner than regular federal cases. Rather than going through the federal system, most immigration cases begins at either immigration court, or are heard by an Immigration and Customs officer. If a person wants to appeal the immigration court or Immigration officer’s initial decision, they appeal the decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals. Both the initial decision-makers and the Board of Immigration Appeals are under the Department of Justice rather than the judicial branch, which makes the process a little bit different.

In some cases, if a person wants to appeal their Immigration Board of Appeals’ decision, they may appeal the decision to the Federal Court of Appeals that has jurisdiction over your case. Since there is already an initial decision in BIA cases, appeals do not go to the federal district courts, but instead, are appealed directly to the federal courts of appeals. At this point, the case is part of the traditional federal court system norms, rules, and deadlines will apply. For example, if you wish to appeal a decision from the Board of Immigration Appeals, you must file your appeal to the property Federal Court of Appeals within 30 days.

Hire an Attorney Today!

Not all Board of Immigration Appeal decisions can be appealed to the Federal Courts of Appeal. Furthermore, bringing an appeal to a Federal Court of Appeal is a significant and costly endeavor. Knowledgeable and experienced immigration will be needed for such a complex legal action. If you are considering appealing your immigration to the Federal Courts of Appeals, or If you have any immigration-related issues, contact the law offices of Roxana V. Muro at 909-297-1860. You can’t afford NOT to.

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