The Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”) is the part of the Services (USCIS). It is an administrative appellate body that is part of the U.S. Department of Justice. BIA decisions are the final administrative action in a removal proceeding. Some BIA decisions may be appealed to a U.S. Court of Appeals.
The BIA may be affirm the decision of an Immigration Judge. Alternatively, the Board may either reverse or remand a Judge’s decision.
The jurisdiction of the BIA extends beyond removal proceedings. For instance, if the USCIS denies an I-130 family-based petition, the petitioner may appeal to the BIA. If the BIA affirms the denial, the appeal is not to the Court of Appeals but to the Federal District Court. Attorney Shusterman once traveled to Falls Church, Virgina to argue an appeal before the BIA of a decision by the INS District Director in Buffalo, New York who had denied a nonimmigrant visa waiver for our client who was a Canadian citizen. The BIA panel overturned the denial, and ruled unanimously in favor of our client.
There are now 27 volumes of BIA precedent decisions, all of which we link to from this page. We also link to unpublished BIA decisions. Although unpublished decisions do not constitute precedents, they can be very useful in preparing your case.
In our 2012 victory in the CSPA lawsuit in DeOsorio v. Mayorkas before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, the Court declined to defer to the BIA’s decision in Matter of Wang because we demonstrated that the statute was clear and unambiguous. The BIA in Wang had held that the statute was ambiguous.
The BIA allows certain non-attorneys to represent clients. However, non-attorneys must be part of a BIA-recognized organization (generally a nonprofit), and must have obtained BIA accreditation.
A practice manual for appearing before the BIA is available from the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Board of Immigration Appeals is located in Falls Church, Virginia. Its Board Members are administrative judges appointed by the U.S. Attorney General. The size of the full BIA varies from time to time, depending on resignations, retirements and new appointments; it may have up to 15 Board Members under the current authorizing legislation. However, following the practice of appellate courts, many decisions of the BIA are by panels that are composed of three Board Members while other decisions are made by a single Board Member.
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The Board of Immigration Appeals page contains:
GENERAL INFORMATION – Board of Immigration Appeals
- Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
- Court Rules on Standard of Proof for Inadmissible LPR in Removal Proceedings
- Precedent Decisions of the BIA
- Board Precedents and Related Court Decisions Chart
- Unpublished BIA Decisions
- Practice Manual
- Practice Manual Quick Navigation
- Frequently Requested FOIA Records From the BIA
- BIA: Mental Health Shouldn’t Be Considered in “Particularly Serious Crime” Analysis (7-17-14)
- Attorney General Holder Appoints BIA Member Forced Off the Board by former AG Ashcroft (August 3, 2009)
- Five New Members Appointed to the BIA (May 30, 2008)
- Attorney General’s Memo to BIA – January 9, 2006
- Summary and Conclusions Re: BIA Reform Study (October 2003)
- Study – Board of Immigration Appeals: Procedural Reforms To Improve Case Management (October 2003) – 248 Pages
- Regulations To Revamp BIA (Effective 9-25-02)
- Justice Department Press Release: Regulations To Revamp BIA
- Justice Department Fact Sheet: Regulations To Revamp BIA
PRACTICE ADVISORIES – Board of Immigration Appeals
- Strategies to Avoid Stopping the Asylum Clock (2-28-06)
- Staying The Voluntary Departure Period When Filing A Motion To Reopen (12-16-05)
- EOIR Background and Security Check Regulations–Effective April 1, 2005 (4-6-05)
- Objecting to Video Merits Hearings (12-12-03)
Affirmance Without Opinion
- BIA “Affirmance Without Opinion”: What Federal Court Challenges Remain? (4-27-05)
- How to Challenge an Affirmance Without Opinion by a BIA Member (9-27-02)
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Carl Shusterman served as an INS Trial Attorney (1976-82) before opening a firm specializing exclusively in US immigration law. He is a Certified Specialist in Immigration Law who has testified as an expert witness before the US Senate Immigration Subcommittee. Carl was featured in the February 2018 edition of SuperLawyers Magazine.
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