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Office of Immigration Litigation, Appellate Section

The Office of Immigration Litigation (OIL) was established in 1983 to handle civil immigration litigation before the federal appellate and district courts.  OIL attorneys handle both affirmative and defensive litigation before these courts.  Additionally, OIL attorneys coordinate with, as well as provide support and counsel to, other federal agencies and United States Attorneys’ Offices on immigration matters. 

OIL is divided into two functional sections, an Appellate Section and a District Court Section.  OIL- Appellate Section attorneys hold primary responsibility for civil immigration case litigation before the federal appellate courts.  These cases present numerous challenging issues, both legal and factual, relating to whether an individual, pursuant to the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1101, et seq., is subject to removal from the United States or is eligible for some form of benefit, relief, or protection that would allow him or her to remain in the United States.  In Fiscal Year 2009, there were over 7,500 such cases filed, and they comprised approximately thirteen percent of all cases filed in the federal appellate courts.

OIL-Appellate Section attorneys write motions and briefs, argue cases, and coordinate with other federal agencies and components of the Department of Justice to ensure that there is uniform application of our immigration laws as these laws evolve to meet the new challenges our country faces.  Coordination with other components of the Department of Justice includes working with the Civil Division’s Appellate Staff and the Office of the Solicitor General to assess which appellate court decisions may warrant further review at either a circuit court or the Supreme Court level.  OIL-Appellate Section’s coordination with other federal agencies includes working closely with the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and DHS’s three components – the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection – to uphold and defend U.S. immigration laws.  

The Office of Immigration Litigation, Appellate Section publishes the Immigration Litigation Bulletin, available at OIL-APP Documents & Forms. This is a monthly publication intended to keep attorneys within the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security apprised of litigation matters in the immigration field.

Updated March 21, 2023