What is an Immigration Board?

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  • Written By: R. Kimball
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 06 May 2020
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An immigration board is the appeals body responsible for reviewing immigration cases. The cases generally reviewed by the immigration appeals board regard removal or applications for relief from removal. Most of these cases may be appealed further to a higher court; in some instances, however, the board is the final decision.

Each country organizes its immigration appeal process differently. Most countries organize the immigration review process as a quasi-judicial proceeding rather than directly within such country’s court systems. Normally, the board has a designated number of members appointed to it. These members often work in panels to make the immigration appeal reviews.

Cases heard by an immigration board are generally completed as part of a paper review process. Very few of the cases go through regular court proceedings. If the case goes to a regular court proceeding, it is reviewed by the entire board rather than a panel of its members. The immigration board makes the decision as to how a case is to be reviewed.

Generally, the immigration appeals board reviews cases wherein a government is one of the parties related to some type of immigration or migration issue. Removal from the country is one of the primary cases appealed to the board. Relief from removal also is petitioned to the appeals board. Status of certain family members or preferential immigration status is submitted to this board as well.

The party appealing to the immigration board may or may not use an attorney for this proceeding. Certain individuals may be approved to practice in front of the immigration appeals board according to the regulations of the board. Representation before the board is usually with an attorney or a certified non-profit. Each board has a specific practice manual to be used when appearing before it.

Immigration boards may be provided with instruction via laws or regulations that vary by jurisdiction. Immigration appeals are independent hearings, and no part of the government may instruct the members of the board directly as to how to make a specific decision. After a decision is rendered, the parties may appeal the decision to a designated higher court in many jurisdictions.

Decisions made by an immigration board are considered administrative decisions. These decisions are published similar to regular court decisions for use as precedent in other immigration cases. Most times, appeals from the immigration board are processed according to governmental law in a government court. Decisions from such a case are published as other court decisions are published in each country.

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