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Appeals to BIA and Federal Courts

The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) is the highest administrative body for interpreting and applying immigration laws. Generally, the BIA does not conduct courtroom proceedings – it decides appeals by conducting a “paper review” of cases. 

BIA decisions are binding on all DHS officers and Immigration Judges unless modified or overruled by the Attorney General or a federal court. Most BIA decisions are subject to judicial review in the federal courts. The majority of appeals reaching the BIA involve orders of removal and applications for relief from removal. Other cases before the BIA include the exclusion of aliens applying for admission to the United States, petitions to classify the status of alien relatives for the issuance of preference immigrant visas, fines imposed upon carriers for the violation of immigration laws, and motions for reopening and reconsideration of decisions previously rendered. 

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