Maris J. Liss

Maris J. Liss, a graduate of Columbia Law School, was an experienced litigator and trial attorney when she joined the firm in 2003, having eight years of commercial and housing litigation experience. For the past ten years, she has exclusively focused her practice on immigration litigation and appeals, heading up our appellate litigation practice. Maris is a member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s Amicus Committee, co-authoring and coordinating amicus briefing and litigation strategies before various Federal courts on issues of importance to immigration law and policy to advance the rights of immigrants and asylees.

Maris handles litigation in the U. S. Circuit Courts of Appeal, and the District Courts along with appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals. In the U.S. Courts of Appeal, she litigates asylum applications, issues involving noncitizens convicted of crimes, and applications for immigration benefits such as adjustment of status, cancellation of removal, and 212(c) relief. In the District Courts, Maris litigates issues involving denied or delayed applications for naturalization and adjustment of status and other immigration benefits, and petitions for writ of habeas corpus challenging prolonged detention in immigration custody. Maris also has a large administrative appellate practice litigating appeals at the Board of Immigration Appeals and has a strong motion practice in Immigration Court.


Contact Info

Phone: (248) 932-0990 ext. 101


J.D., Columbia University School of Law – New York, 1988
London School of Economics, Spring 1985
B.A., Barnard College (magna cum laude) – New York, 1985

Bar Admission

State of New York

Court Admissions

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


American Immigration Lawyers Association
Phi Beta Kappa

Languages Spoken


Representative Decisions

Rashid v. Mukasey, 531 F.3d 438 (6th Cir. 2008), Briefed and Argued by Maris J. Liss.

OVERVIEW: Alien’s two state misdemeanor convictions for marijuana possession together did not constitute aggravated felony of recidivist possession, 21 U.S.C.S. § 844(a), for purposes of 8 U.S.C.S. §§ 1101(a)(42)(B), 1227(a)(2)(A)(iii); alien was not convicted of state law recidivist offense because second conviction made no reference to first conviction. Petition for review was granted.

Dalip Singh v. AG of the United States, 164 Fed. Appx. 239 (6th Cir. 2006), Argued by Maris J. Liss.

OVERVIEW: Where the BIA’s only comment about documents submitted by a citizen of India went to the citizen’s credibility rather than to the sufficiency of his proof, the court could not tell what the basis for the BIA’s conclusion was and the court was obligated to remand the case to the BIA for clarification and, if necessary, further proceedings. Petition for review was granted.

Abbo v. Gonzales, 150 Fed. Appx. 524 (6th Cir. 2005), US Supreme Court certiorari denied by Abbo v. Gonzales, 127 S. Ct. 686, 166 L. Ed. 2d 533, 2006 U.S. LEXIS 9182 (U.S., Nov. 27, 2006). Briefed and Argued by Maris J. Liss.

OVERVIEW: Substantial evidence did not support IJ’s adverse credibility finding in Iraqi citizen’s asylum application under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1158 based on religious persecution because inconsistencies in applicant’s testimony were either de minimis in scope or chimerical in nature. Due process challenge to changed country conditions finding was not exhausted. Petition for review was granted.

Mahmood v. Dist. Dir., USCIS, Case No. 07-12766, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN, SOUTHERN DIVISION, 2008 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 77934, September 30, 2008, Decided, September 30, 2008. Litigated by Maris J. Liss.

OVERVIEW: Because interviews of applicants for naturalization constituted the “examination” under 8 U.S.C.S. § 1447(b) and commenced the running of the 120 day period and the 120 days had long passed, the court had exclusive jurisdiction over the applicants’ applications. The court rejected the Government’s argument that the “examination” was a “process.”

Al Saleh v. Dist. Dir., Case No. 06-13372 , UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF MICHIGAN, SOUTHERN DIVISION, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 22171, March 28, 2007, Decided , March 28, 2007. Litigated by Maris J. Liss

OVERVIEW: Where court determined that term “examination” as used in 8 U.S.C.S. § 1447(b) referred to agency’s initial interview of applicant, court had subject matter jurisdiction to adjudicate the claims. It remanded the matter to the Citizenship and Immigration Services to make a decision within 120 days regarding plaintiff’s naturalization application.