Relief from removal

There are several approaches to obtaining relief from removal, and our office has experience with each of these methods. In general, an individual can pursue relief from removal through an appeal or through an application for cancellation of removal, both of which are explained in detail below.


Decisions by USCIS District Officers, Consular Officials, Immigration Judges and the Board of Immigration Appeal are often subject to a formal appeal or review process. Our office is experienced with a wide variety of appellate litigation, including representation before the Board of Immigration Appeals and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Please explore the information below to learn about our appellate services, and contact us if you have any questions or if you would like to schedule a consultation.

What types of appeals does our office litigate?

The appeals we handle include (but are not limited to) those regarding the following:

United States Federal Courts:

The U.S. federal courts have jurisdiction over many decisions and actions of the Department of Homeland Security. Actions that are typically bought in federal court include petitions for review for certain decisions by the Board of Immigration Appeals; habeas corpus petitions demanding the release of an individual which the government is unlawfully detaining; petitions for review of decisions by the BIA; mandamus actions to demand that the government fulfill its obligation to adjudicate applications in a timely fashion; and de novo review of denials of naturalization applications.

Board of Immigration Appeals:

Decisions made by an Immigration Judge may be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Certain decisions made by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) can also be appealed to the BIA. There is a thirty day deadline to file a notice of appeal. Once an appeal has been filed, the BIA requests the transcripts from the hearing in which the decision that is being appealed was made. The wait time for the BIA to receive the transcripts is at times significant and can be up to and beyond one year. After the BIA has received the transcripts, they are sent out to the appellant and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) along with a briefing schedule. If the BIA feels that oral argument is necessary, it will request it from the parties. Most cases are decided without oral argument. The BIA issues a written decision on the case once it has been briefed by both parties. Due to the large caseload, it often takes several months to receive the BIA decision.

Administrative Appeals Office:

Many decisions made by officers from the District offices and Regional Service centers of USCIS may be appealed to the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). In most cases, the AAO issues a written decision based on the record below and briefs submitted by the parties.

Motions to Reopen / Reconsider:

Motions to reopen and motions to reconsider may be filed with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices, the Immigration Court and the BIA. A motion to reopen is appropriate when additional evidence has become available which would have influenced the decision. A motion to reconsider may be made when the decision is based on incorrect law. Immigration law and regulations set forth numerical and time limitations for filing motions to reopen and reconsider, with limited exceptions.

How can our experience with appellate cases help you?

Our attorneys put their extensive experience with legal research and brief writing into litigating appeals for clients. Through our membership in the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association and National Immigration Project, as well as subscription to on-line legal databases, we have access to the latest immigration news and case law that may be helpful to your appeal.

An immigration appeal is a complex procedure, and applicants should retain an experienced immigration attorney. Please contact us to schedule a consultation.

Cancellation of removal

An alien in deportation proceedings may be able to remain in the United States if an immigration judge cancels their departure, a form of relief called “cancellation of removal.” Cancellation of removal has two categories of provisions: those for permanent residents and those for non-permanent residents.

Permanent residents

Cancellation of removal for permanent residents is available to aliens who are inadmissible or deportable if they: (1) have had lawful permanent residence (LPR) status for a minimum of five years, (2) have resided in the United States continuously for seven years, and (3) have not been convicted of an aggravated felony.

Non-permanent residents

Cancellation of removal and adjustment of status for non-permanent residents is available to aliens who are inadmissible or deportable if they: (1) have been physically present in the United States for a continuous period ten years or more immediately preceding the date of their application for cancellation of removal; (2) have demonstrated good moral character during this time period; (3) have not been convicted of any criminal offense; and (4) establish that removal would result in exceptional and extremely unusual hardship to the alien’s citizen or LPR spouse, parent, or child.

Bromberg, Kohler Maya & Maschler, PLLC has experience representing applications for cancellation of removal and is familiar with the process and its requirements. If you are interested in learning more about how our office can help with your case, please contact us to schedule a consultation.


See also…

Our website’s sections on Asylum, Hardship waivers, and provisions for Victims of violence offer more information on your options for relief from removal.


The content of this website is meant only to acquaint you with general information about immigration. This information is not legal advice and is not a substitute for having a consultation with an attorney. If you have additional questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact us.