Applying for asylum is one of the most difficult undertakings one can attempt, and approximately 49 percent of claims are denied each year. If yours is one of them, you may be at a loss as to how to proceed after you receive the immigration judge’s verdict. It can be critical for you to know your rights, lest you wind up having to leave the United States when it may not in truth be necessary.
Requesting a Reopening
In most situations, there is one method to try before submitting a formal appeal, and that is to request a reopening of your asylum case. However, in order to be considered for such an option, you must be able to show that you have new or different evidence; a reopening is not a de novo review. In other words, the court will not review the entire case anew, rather they will only evaluate the case vis-a-vis the new evidence you introduce.
Be advised that you generally only receive one chance to request a reopening. If you are approved, a new hearing will be scheduled at which you may present your new evidence. However, afterward, the judge is much less likely to allow another reopening, even if you discover new evidence. Also, you may not use your hearing to preserve your right to appeal; you must state clearly during the original proceeding that you wish to preserve your right to appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) if the decision of the judge is unfavorable.
The Board of Immigration Appeals
Assuming that things do not resolve themselves at the immigration judge’s court, an appeal to the BIA is the next step. You must first file an EOIR Notice to Appeal, also called a Notice of Appeal from a Decision of a DHS Officer—it is imperative that you file the correct appeal notice, or you may be denied. With rare exceptions, each potential asylee is given 30 days in which he or she must file his or her appeal, after which their attorney will have approximately 21 days to send along a supporting brief. This may seem brief, but it is at least partially mitigated by the fact that it is exceedingly rare, almost unheard of, for the BIA to require a personal appearance by the appellant—almost every case is adjudicated simply by submitting proofs on paper.
Once you have filed your appeal, the BIA can take anywhere from six months to over a year to make a decision, depending on backlog and the quality of evidence that you have submitted. It is possible that the BIA may issue a stay of removal (in other words, allow you to remain in the country), but they are not required to do so; you must ask for one affirmatively. If you do not request a stay, and one is not granted, you are required to leave the country while your appeal is pending, or you may be declared inadmissible or deportable due to unlawful presence.
Contact an Immigration Attorney
Being in immigration proceedings can be intimidating, to say the least. Filing an appeal is not an undertaking that many people can do on their own, and having an attorney who is both knowledgeable and compassionate can help on multiple fronts. The dedicated Chicago deportation defense attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices are well versed in this kind of law, and can put our experience to work for you. Contact us today to schedule a free initial consultation.
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