07 Jan Asylum Case Appeal Won at Federal Court
When an immigrant applies for asylum and loses in Immigration Court, he has two appeals. The first appeal is to the Board of Immigration Appeals. If the immigrant loses that appeal, he is allowed to appeal his case to the federal court. As we have won many federal court appeals and had many cases sent back to the immigration court, we have a very good understanding of what kinds of cases can win at the federal court level. Federal court appeals require a lot more work on the part of an attorney than the first appeal to the BIA. The federal court has many rules that attorneys have to follow when arguing a case and for this reason, legal fees are often high. A well known attorney in Philadelphia’s Chinatown had her license suspended because she had failed to follow proper procedure in the federal court. After charging clients low fees, she had filed the same arguments in many cases instead of making separate arguments for each case depending on the specific facts of the case. For this reason, the appeals had little to no chance of succeeding. When we meet with clients to discuss whether they should appeal to the federal court or not, we read their entire file. During the first appeal to the BIA, a transcript of the trial is sent to the attorney and it contains every word said at the hearing. It also contains the Immigration Judge’s decision. It is important to read these documents as well as the BIA’s decision itself to determine whether there is a chance to win a federal court appeal. Many attorneys will try to get clients to pay large fees for federal court appeals before they even read the file to determine whether there is any chance of winning. Also, some travel agents who do not even have a lawyer’s license try to get immigrants to pay them for federal court appeals. They then find the cheapest attorney possible to handle the appeal and those kinds of attorneys are usually completely incompetent. Many of these clients end up wasting many thousands of dollars because their attorney only cares about getting the legal fees. After reading the file, we are able to offer the client our view of the case. Many cases should have been won in Immigration Court, but due to a mistake on the part of the previous attorney, the case was denied. This is quite common, and unfortunately, it seems that many attorneys make no real effort to win their cases in court. For example, a recent client came to me about a federal court appeal, but after reading the BIA’s decision it was clear that the previous attorney did not submit important letters from witnesses to the Court. If an attorney does not submit important evidence, there is little chance of winning a federal court appeal because you are not allowed to submit any new evidence. This is why it is so important to hire a good attorney to handle your case from the very beginning as many mistakes can never be corrected later. In some cases, the previous lawyer did a very poor job of preparing the client for trial, and for that reason, the client made mistakes in his testimony at trial and for that reason, the judge denied the case. We recently met with a client regarding a possible federal court appeal. His previous lawyer was a very poor lawyer from Chinatown who had not prepared him for his trial at all. Unfortunately, the client had made mistakes that could not be corrected in an appeal. Certain kinds of mistakes, however, can be explained in a federal court appeal. Most importantly, when the Immigration Judge or the BIA make a mistake regarding the law, the federal courts are often willing to grant an appeal. In a recent federal court appeal filed by our immigration lawyers, a client had submitted documents that the U.S. Government said were fake. However, we convinced the federal court that the Government had not submitted proper evidence to prove that the documents were fake and the court sent the case back to the Immigration Court. The Immigration judges and the BIA make many mistakes in their decisions and a good lawyer can sometimes see those mistakes after carefully reading the file. While winning federal court appeals is not easy, our Philadelphia Immigration Attorneys have won a good percentage of the cases we have appealed. To win, a lawyer has to be able to predict which cases have a chance to win and which cases do not. If a lawyer is honest with clients he can prevent them from wasting their hard-earned money on appeals.