How to Draft a Skeleton Argument for an Appeal on Immigration Cases

Updated April 17, 2017

An alien who has a petition for residency or citizenship denied can appeal to the Immigration Appeals Board of the U.S. Justice Department or to the Administrative Appeals Unit at U. S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a division of the Department of Homeland Security. The IAB hears appeals of decisions by immigration judges, and certain decisions by the Department of Homeland Security, on exclusion, deportation or removal of aliens. The AAU hears cases decided by the USCIS regional offices. In an appellate brief, write out the essential facts and legal issues that deserve to be addressed by the administrative court.

Identify the alien whose petition was denied. Give his full name and Alien Registration Number. Describe the alien's status in the United States and status with a foreign country.

State the issues for the administrative court to resolve. For each issue, concisely state the immigration rule as applied to the facts and circumstances of the case.

Recite the facts involved in the immigration case that are relevant to the appeal.

Describe the proceedings that took place before an immigration judge or an official with the USCIS regional office. Review the facts and arguments presented. Provide a chronology of the decision-making process. State the decisions made. When facts about the proceedings have a record, cite the record.

State any facts not presented or not adequately developed before the original case adjudicator that an immigration official can rely on to make a decision in the alien's favour. For facts previously presented, cite the record.

State the issues of law and the legal authorities that support the alien's case. Cite the provisions in the Immigration and Nationality Act that apply to the alien's case. Set out the immigration regulations in 8 Code of Federal Regulations that apply to the alien's petition. Cite precedents to the case in past decisions by the IAB, federal or state courts, the Department of Homeland Security or the Attorney General. Consult "The Bluebook" for citation style.

Describe the supporting evidence and explain its relevance in the appellate brief. Submit the evidence itself along with the brief and the Notice of Appeal form, either EOIR-29 or Form I-290B.

Things You'll Need

  • Blue Book
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About the Author

Adam Benjamin Pollack is a San Diego native dedicated to the great sentences on civil society. He authored the Subchapter S Report to tell legal news for the American Bankers Association. He holds a Juris Doctor from Indiana University and a Master of Public Policy from University of California, Berkeley.