Federal Court

If you are experiencing negative results with your immigration case, Reeves Immigration Law Group may be able to help you seek review in Federal Court. This process of filing a lawsuit in federal court is incredibly complex, as you might imagine. Read below about potential options for you to continue pursuing your immigration case.

U.S. District Courts

U.S. District Courts are the general trial courts of the federal court system. They handle trials within the federal court system – both civil and criminal. They also handle two specific matters that may be helpful to a person applying for immigration benefits: Declaratory Judgment and Mandamus.


Declaratory Judgment: A declaratory judgment is a ruling by a district court on a particular legal question. It resolves uncertainty, and brings clarity to a previously unsettled situation.


There may be uncertainty, confusion, or a disagreement between an applicant and an immigration agency. The applicant may therefore wish to obtain a declaratory judgment in federal court, which holds that he or she is entitled to a particular immigration benefit. A ruling in the applicant’s favor may result in the approval of the immigration benefit by the immigration agency.


It is important to note that a foreign national should not immediately start thinking about seeking a declaratory judgment in federal court. Rather, they should make every attempt possible to first resolve this issue with the applicable immigration agency through appeals, motions, etc. If all of these attempts fail though, then seeking a declaratory judgment may be the proper course of action.


Mandamus: A mandamus is an order issued by a district court which requires that an immigration agency take a particular action. The word “mandamus” is similar to the word “mandate.” A mandamus order from the court mandates that the immigration agency take a particular action.


A mandamus action is most often used in the immigration context to compel an agency to make a decision on a pending immigration application which has been unreasonably delayed. It is important to note that the federal judge will not specifically order an immigration agency to approve a case. Rather, they will simply order the immigration agency to make a decision. It will put an end to your waiting, but unless your legal theory is correct and you are indeed eligible for the requested immigration benefit, it will not guarantee you an approval of your case.

Circuit Courts

A circuit court considers Petitions for Review of unfavorable immigration decisions issued by the Board of Immigration Appeals (“BIA”). The circuit courts have jurisdiction to review the BIA’s decision to: issue a final removal order (including the denial of any application for relief), or deny a motion to reconsider or reopen. In exercising its function, the circuit court reviews constitutional claims and questions of law, including the application of legal standards to undisputed facts.

Supreme Court of the United States

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the American judicial system. If a circuit court issues an unfavorable decision, in whole or in part, the next and final resort is the Supreme Court of the United States. A case is initiated here by filing a petition for certiorari, which addresses the important legal issues of the case. If the Court’s justices decide to take the case, they will issue a writ of certiorari. It is important to remember that the Supreme Court only hears a limited number of cases each year, but many important immigration decisions have been issued by the Supreme Court of the United States.

Subscribe to Newsletter