Change of Venue
Counsel from a New Jersey Immigration Lawyer
A change of venue in an immigration case must take place prior to your
scheduled hearing. If you have a deportation case that must be handled,
it is important that you take all of the requirements so that there are
no delays in processing your case.
How Are Deportation Cases Handled?
Deportation proceedings against an immigrant take place in the immigration court where
the district director files Form I-862, Notice To Appear (NTA).The NTA
is an official document served upon the immigrant that contains the charges
or removability from the United States, as well as the place and time
of the court hearing.
In some instances, there are changes in circumstances that justify a change
of venue to a different immigration court. In less frequent cases, motion
for a change of venue can be granted upon showing of error or abuse of
discretion by the district director in determining the NTA filing venue.
An immigration judge may
change venue upon a showing of good cause.
8 C.F.R. § 1003.20(b).
How to Show Good Cause for Your Appeal
Board of Immigration Appeals held that good cause is determined by balancing certain factors that are
relevant to the venue issue. Relevant factors include
- administrative convenience;
- expeditious treatment of the case;
- location of witnesses,
- cost of transporting witnesses.
Matter of Rahman, Interim Decision 3174 (BIA 1992).
Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in citing
Matter of Rahman held that "good cause is determined by balancing such factors as
the alien's residence, the location of witnesses, evidence and counsel,
expeditious treatment of the case, and the cost of transporting witnesses
and evidence to a new location".
Lovell v. I.N.S., 52 F.3d 458, 460 (2d Cir. 1995).
Can a Change of Venue Motion Be Denied?
A denial of a
motion for a change of venue is generally infrequent, although the immigration Court in Buffalo, New
York is often very reluctant in granting them.
The BIA and Federal Courts have clearly stated that a denial of a motion
for a change of venue constitutes reversible error only when the immigrant
can show prejudice.
Reversible error was found in a denial of a change of venue, when the witnesses
for the responded lived far away, and had to testify by either telephone
A Case Example
Ngassaki v. Holder, an unpublished decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
dated September 13, 2013, the Court held that the inability of witnesses
to testify in person, there might be a negative effect on the witnesses'
credibility by the Court, and this would affect the overall fairness of
In sum, an Immigration Court has a duty to facilitate the testimony of
Monter v. Gonzales, 430 F.3d 546 (2d Cir. 2005), the Court placed great weight on the location
of the respondent's witnesses to determine whether a motion for a
change of venue should have been granted.
In that case, the Court noted that the respondent, as well as his witnesses,
were located significantly closer to New York City than Buffalo, New York,
and that the IJ's failure to facilitate the testimony of witnesses
affected the overall fairness of the proceeding, and therefore was prejudicial.
If you have been placed in deportation proceedings, speak to a
New Jersey immigration attorney to prepare the best defense possible and to apply for a change of venue,