A Guide on Federal Litigation

Office Locations

Proudly Serving Dallas, FT.Worth, San Antonio, Houston.


OFFICE 1700 Pacific Ave. #3750, Dallas, TX 75201


OFFICE 851 Grainger St. Ste 107 Fort Worth TX 76104


OFFICE 110 Broadway St. Ste 370, San Antonio, TX 78205


OFFICE 815 Walker Street, Ste 945, Houston, TX

Understanding the Federal Court System

While most legal disputes in Texas find their way into state courts, specific categories of cases are prosecuted at the federal level. In some situations, a case may commence at the state level only to land in a federal court later. At other times, you might be at the center of a federal criminal investigation for immigration violations. It can even be due to delays from the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in processing your application.

In such cases, you can file an immigration lawsuit at the federal court to compel the USCIS to adjudicate on your case. Additionally, if an immigration judge makes a mistake in your case and denies you relief, you can appeal their decision in a federal court.

Irrespective of how a case ends up in the federal court, it is essential to have an immigration Attorney in Texas standing by your side. Federal law can be intricate and laden with complex procedures, making the guidance of a skilled litigation attorney indispensable. A knowledgeable litigation attorney can represent you at your federal trial and build a solid defense strategy on your behalf.

In this guide, we unravel the nuances of federal litigation, shedding light on the kinds of cases that fall under its jurisdiction and how our attorneys can navigate this intricate territory.

Types of Cases That Involve Federal Litigation


Federal litigation accommodates many case types, each with unique intricacies. Below are some common reasons why you may need federal litigation.

Criminal Immigration Violations

If you violate immigration laws to the level of a criminal offense, you could face criminal prosecutions at a federal district court. For instance, lying on your application to gain entry into the US or entering a fraudulent marriage for immigration purposes. Federal criminal charges can carry severe consequences, making federal litigation indispensable.

Unreasonable Delays in Adjudicating Your Application

If you have a pending immigration case that is taking longer than it should, you can petition for a writ of mandamus. In a mandamus order, a court directs an official to fulfill their duties or correct an abuse of discretion. So, a mandamus action basically initiates a lawsuit against the USCIS officer responsible for handling your case. It forces them to act on your immigration application and decide.

APA Claims

When an immigration agency violates immigration law, misbehaves, or fails to follow legislative rule-making requirements, a claim under the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) can be filed. APA claims are brought before federal district courts, not immigration courts. They allow federal judges to review the agency’s action to determine whether it was wrongful.

If your claim is successful, the federal court may overturn the agency’s immigration decision or halt the enforcement of a specific immigration law, such as the deportation process.

Federal Circuit Court Appeals

After a proceeding in immigration court results in an unfavorable decision, you often have the option to appeal that judgment. You can initiate the appeal process with the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

However, if the BIA sustains the unfavorable decision, you may also decide to file an appeal in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. However, different rules and procedures apply to these kinds of appeals. Therefore, having a federal litigation attorney is beneficial.

Unlawful Confinement in Immigration Custody

When Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detains you or a family member without a legal basis, you can file a complaint or a petition for habeas corpus. Habeas corpus compels the ICE to present you before an immigration judge.

Naturalization Appeals

If your application for naturalization is denied or delayed, federal litigation can offer a path for redress. To appeal a denial, you can file a case contesting the denial of your application for naturalization in federal court. In cases of extensive delays, a mandamus action can be initiated to compel the USCIS to adjudicate your application.

What Happens at a Federal Litigation Trial?

Federal court trials are similar to state court trials, regardless of where the case was initially filed. The federal government presents its evidence and provides witnesses for jury testimony. Concurrently, your federal litigation attorney will also present your side.

After the jury hears the arguments of both parties, they will deliberate on the issue and reach a judgment. In appeals cases, arguments from both parties explaining the legal reasoning behind why the court should agree or disagree with the lower court’s decision will be presented.

The federal court’s decisions may include:

  1. Overturning or upholding the lower court’s ruling in one party’s favor
  2. Returning the matter to the lower court with further directions
  3. Proceed to sentencing in criminal cases

In federal criminal cases involving immigration violations, the burden of proof rests on the federal government to establish your guilt. Federal rules of criminal procedure and evidence dictate the proceedings in these trials.

The Difference Between Federal Court and State Court in Texas


The federal court operates a separate system from the state court. State courts have broad jurisdiction, adjudicating cases that span criminal, civil, family, and more. In contrast, the US Constitution establishes federal courts with a more specific jurisdiction. They have jurisdiction over bankruptcy cases, federal law violation cases, and appeals from lower courts concerning federal matters.


How Can an Attorney Help in Federal Litigation?


The complexity and intricacies of federal law require the knowledge and experience of a skilled federal litigation attorney. An experienced federal litigation attorney can help you with:

  • Legal Research and Strategy: Your attorney will conduct extensive research on previous cases, statutes, and regulations similar to yours to develop a solid strategy for your case.

  • Court Filings and Pleadings: Federal court procedures are stringent, and filing errors can lead to the dismissal of your case. An experienced attorney will ensure all necessary documents are filed correctly and within the given timeframes.

  • Representation in Court: Your attorney will represent you in all court proceedings, including hearings and trials, presenting evidence and making compelling arguments on your behalf.

  • Appeals: In the event of an unfavorable lower court decision, your attorney can guide you in the appeals process and represent you before a higher court.

Having a skilled federal litigation attorney by your side can significantly increase your chances of success in federal court. They will ensure that all aspects of your case are thoroughly analyzed and expertly presented, giving you the most favorable outcome.


In Need of Federal Litigation? Speak to Our Qualified Attorneys Today


A misstep due to unfamiliarity with the federal court system could jeopardize your chances of a favorable decision. Hence, having a skilled attorney with federal law experience is crucial.

At Andrew T. Thomas, Attorneys at Law, we can review your case to determine the appropriate action to take in your circumstances. Through legal research, our lawyers can craft a litigation strategy on your behalf and protect your rights. We understand the federal court system and can fight for a reconsideration of your case.

We can bring claims against the USCIS where there are delays or administrative errors with your application. If you are facing charges for a federal immigration violation, we can represent you and help reduce or dismiss your charges. Our deportation defense lawyer can represent you at the immigration court and protect your rights.

Contact our law office today for legal assistance.