Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA)
Our Houston Lawyer team assists those seeking assistance in the federal court appeals process. Contact us for more information.
We defend clients in all stages of the deportation/ removal process, including hearings before the immigration judge, bond-hearing appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals and of the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal. We regularly consult with individuals who may be deportable due to criminal convictions.
Other court proceedings that we handle include:
Motions to Reconsider/Reopen
Appeals to the Administrative Appeals Office or Board of Immigration Appeals
Appeals to the U.S. Circuit Courts of Appeal
Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court
State and federal writs of habeas corpus
Writs of coram nobis
Federal court litigation, including FOIA suits, mandamus actions, and declaratory and injunctive relief
Voluntary Departure is a process by which an illegal alien who is about to be removed/deported agrees to leave the country voluntarily. This enables the alien to avoid any penalties that come with removal.
There is no limit on the number of times an alien may receive voluntary departure. It is available both during and prior to removal proceedings.
The decision to grant voluntary departure is made by an INS officer or by an immigration judge based on humanitarian concerns, prior immigration laws, and other discretionary factors.
Before Removal Proceedings Begin
Requirements for Voluntary Departure before Immigration Court Proceedings are initiated by the CIS:
1. the alien must request voluntary departure and agree to its terms and conditions;
2. the application for voluntary departure may be made at any office of the INS; and
3. the alien must present to the INS for inspection and photocopying, a passport or travel document “sufficient to assure lawful entry into the country to which the alien is departing.” The INS may hold the passport or documentation for sufficient time to investigate its authenticity.
After Removal Proceedings Begin
Voluntary Departure after the Notice to Appear (NTA) is served, this means that Immigration Court Proceedings have begun. Once proceedings have begun, the alien may still request voluntary departure through INS counsel. If the INS agrees to voluntary departure it may either:
1. enter into an agreement to terminate the proceedings, and if proceedings are terminated, grant voluntary departure; or
2. request voluntary departure before the Immigration Judge.
Requirements of Voluntary Departure before the Immigration Judge:
1. the alien must request voluntary departure prior to or at the master calendar hearing (usually a person’s 1st court appearance);
2. no other request for relief is made;
3. agrees that he/she is removable form the United States;
4. waives appeal of all issues; and
5. has note been convicted of a crime described in 101(a) (43)[aggravated felony] and is not deportable under 237 (a)(4)[security and related grounds].
No showing of good moral character or the financial means to depart is required.
Not Eligible for Voluntary Departure
Some people are not eligible for the relief of Voluntary Departure. Aliens are not eligible for Voluntary Departure if:
1. any conviction of an aggravated felony, 237(a)(2)(A)(iii); or
2. person(s) involved in terrorist activities, 237(a)(4)(B); or
3. person(s) charged as an arriving alien