8 CFR § 1003.1 - Organization, jurisdiction, and powers of the Board of Immigration Appeals.
(1) Organization. There shall be in the Department of Justice a Board of Immigration Appeals, subject to the general supervision of the Director, Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR). The Board members shall be attorneys appointed by the Attorney General to act as the Attorney General's delegates in the cases that come before them. The Board shall consist of 21 members. A vacancy, or the absence or unavailability of a Board member, shall not impair the right of the remaining members to exercise all the powers of the Board. The Board members shall also be known as Appellate Immigration Judges.
(2) Chairman. The Attorney General shall designate one of the Board members to serve as Chairman. The Attorney General may designate one or two Vice Chairmen to assist the Chairman in the performance of his duties and to exercise all of the powers and duties of the Chairman in the absence or unavailability of the Chairman. The Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals shall also be known as the Chief Appellate Immigration Judge, and a Vice Chairman of the Board of Immigration Appeals shall also be known as a Deputy Chief Appellate Immigration Judge.
(A) Issue operational instructions and policy, including procedural instructions regarding the implementation of new statutory or regulatory authorities;
(B) Provide for appropriate training of Board members and staff on the conduct of their powers and duties;
(C) Direct the conduct of all employees assigned to the Board to ensure the efficient disposition of all pending cases, including the power, in his discretion, to set priorities or time frames for the resolution of cases; to direct that the adjudication of certain cases be deferred, to regulate the assignment of Board members to cases, and otherwise to manage the docket of matters to be decided by the Board;
(D) Evaluate the performance of the Board by making appropriate reports and inspections, and take corrective action where needed;
(E) Adjudicate cases as a Board member; and
(F) Exercise such other authorities as the Director may provide.
(ii) The Chairman shall have no authority to direct the result of an adjudication assigned to another Board member or to a panel; provided, however, that nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the management authority of the Chairman under paragraph (a)(2)(i) of this section.
(3) Panels. The Chairman shall divide the Board into three-member panels and designate a presiding member of each panel if the Chairman or Vice Chairman is not assigned to the panel. The Chairman may from time to time make changes in the composition of such panels and of presiding members. Each three-member panel shall be empowered to decide cases by majority vote, and a majority of the Board members assigned to the panel shall constitute a quorum for such panel. In addition, the Chairman shall assign any number of Board members, as needed, to serve on the screening panel to implement the case management process as provided in paragraph (e) of this section.
(4) Temporary Board members. The Director may in his discretion designate immigration judges, retired Board members, retired immigration judges, and administrative law judges employed within, or retired from, EOIR to act as temporary Board members for terms not to exceed six months. In addition, with the approval of the Deputy Attorney General, the Director may designate one or more senior EOIR attorneys with at least ten years of experience in the field of immigration law to act as temporary Board members for terms not to exceed six months. A temporary Board member shall have the authority of a Board member to adjudicate assigned cases, except that temporary Board members shall not have the authority to vote on any matter decided by the Board en banc. Temporary Board members shall also be known as temporary Appellate Immigration Judges.
(5) En banc process. A majority of the permanent Board members shall constitute a quorum for purposes of convening the Board en banc. The Board may on its own motion by a majority vote of the permanent Board members, or by direction of the Chairman, consider any case en banc, or reconsider as the Board en banc any case that has been considered or decided by a three-member panel. En banc proceedings are not favored, and shall ordinarily be ordered only where necessary to address an issue of particular importance or to secure or maintain consistency of the Board's decisions.
(6) Board staff. There shall also be attached to the Board such number of attorneys and other employees as the Deputy Attorney General, upon recommendation of the Director, shall from time to time direct.
(b) Appellate jurisdiction. Appeals may be filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals from the following:
(2) Decisions of Immigration Judges in deportation cases, as provided in 8 CFR part 1240, subpart E, except that no appeal shall lie seeking review of a length of a period of voluntary departure granted by an Immigration Judge under section 244E of the Act as it existed prior to April 1, 1997.
(3) Decisions of Immigration Judges in removal proceedings, as provided in 8 CFR part 1240, except that no appeal shall lie seeking review of the length of a period of voluntary departure granted by an immigration judge under section 240B of the Act or part 240 of this chapter.
(5) Decisions on petitions filed in accordance with section 204 of the act (except petitions to accord preference classifications under section 203(a)(3) or section 203(a)(6) of the act, or a petition on behalf of a child described in section 101(b)(1)(F) of the act), and decisions on requests for revalidation and decisions revoking the approval of such petitions, in accordance with section 205 of the act, as provided in parts 204 and 205, respectively, of 8 CFR chapter I or parts 1204 and 1205, respectively, of this chapter.
(12) Decisions of Immigration Judges on applications for adjustment of status referred on a Notice of Certification (Form I-290C) to the Immigration Court in accordance with §§ 1245.13(n)(2) and 1245.15(n)(3) of this chapter or remanded to the Immigration Court in accordance with §§ 1245.13(d)(2) and 1245.15(e)(2) of this chapter.
(c) Jurisdiction by certification. The Commissioner, or any other duly authorized officer of the Service, any Immigration Judge, or the Board may in any case arising under paragraph (b) of this section certify such case to the Board. The Board in its discretion may review any such case by certification without regard to the provisions of § 1003.7 if it determines that the parties have already been given a fair opportunity to make representations before the Board regarding the case, including the opportunity request oral argument and to submit a brief.
(d) Powers of the Board -
(1) Generally. The Board shall function as an appellate body charged with the review of those administrative adjudications under the Act that the Attorney General may by regulation assign to it. The Board shall resolve the questions before it in a manner that is timely, impartial, and consistent with the Act and regulations. In addition, the Board, through precedent decisions, shall provide clear and uniform guidance to the Service, the immigration judges, and the general public on the proper interpretation and administration of the Act and its implementing regulations.
(i) The Board shall be governed by the provisions and limitations prescribed by applicable law, regulations, and procedures, and by decisions of the Attorney General (through review of a decision of the Board, by written order, or by determination and ruling pursuant to section 103 of the Act).
(ii) Subject to these governing standards, Board members shall exercise their independent judgment and discretion in considering and determining the cases coming before the Board, and a panel or Board member to whom a case is assigned may take any action consistent with their authorities under the Act and the regulations as is appropriate and necessary for the disposition of the case.
(2) Summary dismissal of appeals -
(i) Standards. A single Board member or panel may summarily dismiss any appeal or portion of any appeal in any case in which:
(A) The party concerned fails to specify the reasons for the appeal on Form EOIR-26 or Form EOIR-29 (Notices of Appeal) or other document filed therewith;
(B) The only reason for the appeal specified by the party concerned involves a finding of fact or a conclusion of law that was conceded by that party at a prior proceeding;
(C) The appeal is from an order that granted the party concerned the relief that had been requested;
(D) The Board is satisfied, from a review of the record, that the appeal is filed for an improper purpose, such as to cause unnecessary delay, or that the appeal lacks an arguable basis in fact or in law unless the Board determines that it is supported by a good faith argument for extension, modification, or reversal of existing law;
(E) The party concerned indicates on Form EOIR-26 or Form EOIR-29 that he or she will file a brief or statement in support of the appeal and, thereafter, does not file such brief or statement, or reasonably explain his or her failure to do so, within the time set for filing;
(G) The appeal is untimely, or barred by an affirmative waiver of the right of appeal that is clear on the record; or
(H) The appeal fails to meet essential statutory or regulatory requirements or is expressly excluded by statute or regulation.
(ii) Action by the Board. The Board's case management screening plan shall promptly identify cases that are subject to summary dismissal pursuant to this paragraph. An order dismissing any appeal pursuant to this paragraph (d)(2) shall constitute the final decision of the Board.
(iii) Disciplinary consequences. The filing by a practitioner, as defined in § 1003.101(b), of an appeal that is summarily dismissed under paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section, may constitute frivolous behavior under § 1003.102(j).Summary dismissal of an appeal under paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section does not limit the other grounds and procedures for disciplinary action against attorneys or representatives.
(3) Scope of review.
(i) The Board will not engage in de novo review of findings of fact determined by an immigration judge. Facts determined by the immigration judge, including findings as to the credibility of testimony, shall be reviewed only to determine whether the findings of the immigration judge are clearly erroneous.
(iv) Except for taking administrative notice of commonly known facts such as current events or the contents of official documents, the Board will not engage in factfinding in the course of deciding appeals. A party asserting that the Board cannot properly resolve an appeal without further factfinding must file a motion for remand. If further factfinding is needed in a particular case, the Board may remand the proceeding to the immigration judge or, as appropriate, to the Service.
(5) Discipline of practitioners and recognized organizations. The Board shall have the authority pursuant to § 1003.101 et seq. to impose sanctions upon practitioners who appear in a representative capacity before the Board, the Immigration Courts, or DHS, and upon recognized organizations. The Board shall also have the authority pursuant to § 1003.107 to reinstate disciplined practitioners to appear in a representative capacity before the Board and the Immigration Courts, or DHS, or all three authorities.
(6) Identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations.
(i) The Board shall not issue a decision affirming or granting to an alien an immigration status, relief or protection from removal, or other immigration benefit, as provided in 8 CFR 1003.47(b), that requires completion of identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations if:
(A) Identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations have not been completed during the proceedings;
(B) DHS reports to the Board that the results of prior identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations are no longer current under the standards established by DHS and must be updated; or
(C) Identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations have uncovered new information bearing on the merits of the alien's application for relief.
(ii) Except as provided in paragraph (d)(6)(iv) of this section, if identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations have not been completed or DHS reports that the results of prior investigations or examinations are no longer current under the standards established by DHS, then the Board will determine the best means to facilitate the final disposition of the case, as follows:
(A) The Board may issue an order remanding the case to the immigration judge with instructions to allow DHS to complete or update the appropriate identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations pursuant to § 1003.47; or
(B) The Board may provide notice to both parties that in order to complete adjudication of the appeal the case is being placed on hold until such time as all identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations are completed or updated and the results have been reported to the Board.
(iii) In any case placed on hold under paragraph (d)(6)(ii)(B) of this section, DHS shall report to the Board promptly when the identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations have been completed or updated. If DHS obtains relevant information as a result of the identity, law enforcement, or security investigations or examinations, or if the applicant fails to comply with necessary procedures for collecting biometrics or other biographical information, DHS may move to remand the record to the immigration judge for consideration of whether, in view of the new information or the alien's failure to comply, the immigration relief should be denied, either on grounds of eligibility or, where applicable, as a matter of discretion.
(7) Finality of decision. The decision of the Board shall be final except in those cases reviewed by the Attorney General in accordance with paragraph (h) of this section. The Board may return a case to the Service or an immigration judge for such further action as may be appropriate, without entering a final decision on the merits of the case.
(e) Case management system. The Chairman shall establish a case management system to screen all cases and to manage the Board's caseload. Unless a case meets the standards for assignment to a three-member panel under paragraph (e)(6) of this section, all cases shall be assigned to a single Board member for disposition. The Chairman, under the supervision of the Director, shall be responsible for the success of the case management system. The Chairman shall designate, from time to time, a screening panel comprising a sufficient number of Board members who are authorized, acting alone, to adjudicate appeals as provided in this paragraph.
(1) Initial screening. All cases shall be referred to the screening panel for review. Appeals subject to summary dismissal as provided in paragraph (d)(2) of this section should be promptly dismissed.
(2) Miscellaneous dispositions. A single Board member may grant an unopposed motion or a motion to withdraw an appeal pending before the Board. In addition, a single Board member may adjudicate a Service motion to remand any appeal from the decision of a Service officer where the Service requests that the matter be remanded to the Service for further consideration of the appellant's arguments or evidence raised on appeal; a case where remand is required because of a defective or missing transcript; and other procedural or ministerial issues as provided by the case management plan.
(3) Merits review. In any case that has not been summarily dismissed, the case management system shall arrange for the prompt completion of the record of proceedings and transcript, and the issuance of a briefing schedule. A single Board member assigned under the case management system shall determine the appeal on the merits as provided in paragraph (e)(4) or (e)(5) of this section, unless the Board member determines that the case is appropriate for review and decision by a three-member panel under the standards of paragraph (e)(6) of this section. The Board member may summarily dismiss an appeal after completion of the record of proceeding.
(4) Affirmance without opinion.
(i) The Board member to whom a case is assigned shall affirm the decision of the Service or the immigration judge, without opinion, if the Board member determines that the result reached in the decision under review was correct; that any errors in the decision under review were harmless or nonmaterial; and that
(A) The issues on appeal are squarely controlled by existing Board or federal court precedent and do not involve the application of precedent to a novel factual situation; or
(B) The factual and legal issues raised on appeal are not so substantial that the case warrants the issuance of a written opinion in the case.
(ii) If the Board member determines that the decision should be affirmed without opinion, the Board shall issue an order that reads as follows: “The Board affirms, without opinion, the result of the decision below. The decision below is, therefore, the final agency determination. See 8 CFR 3.1(e)(4).” An order affirming without opinion, issued under authority of this provision, shall not include further explanation or reasoning. Such an order approves the result reached in the decision below; it does not necessarily imply approval of all of the reasoning of that decision, but does signify the Board's conclusion that any errors in the decision of the immigration judge or the Service were harmless or nonmaterial.
(5) Other decisions on the merits by single Board member. If the Board member to whom an appeal is assigned determines, upon consideration of the merits, that the decision is not appropriate for affirmance without opinion, the Board member shall issue a brief order affirming, modifying, or remanding the decision under review, unless the Board member designates the case for decision by a three-member panel under paragraph (e)(6) of this section under the standards of the case management plan. A single Board member may reverse the decision under review if such reversal is plainly consistent with and required by intervening Board or judicial precedent, by an intervening Act of Congress, or by an intervening final regulation. A motion to reconsider or to reopen a decision that was rendered by a single Board member may be adjudicated by that Board member unless the case is reassigned to a three-member panel as provided under the standards of the case management plan.
(6) Panel decisions. Cases may only be assigned for review by a three-member panel if the case presents one of these circumstances:
(i) The need to settle inconsistencies among the rulings of different immigration judges;
(ii) The need to establish a precedent construing the meaning of laws, regulations, or procedures;
(iv) The need to resolve a case or controversy of major national import;
(v) The need to review a clearly erroneous factual determination by an immigration judge;
(vii) The need to resolve a complex, novel, unusual, or recurring issue of law or fact.
(7) Oral argument. When an appeal has been taken, a request for oral argument if desired shall be included in the Notice of Appeal. A three-member panel or the Board en banc may hear oral argument, as a matter of discretion, at such date and time as is established under the Board's case management plan. Oral argument shall be held at the offices of the Board unless the Deputy Attorney General or his designee authorizes oral argument to be held elsewhere. The Service may be represented before the Board by an officer of the Service designated by the Service. No oral argument will be allowed in a case that is assigned for disposition by a single Board member.
(8) Timeliness. As provided under the case management system, the Board shall promptly enter orders of summary dismissal, or other miscellaneous dispositions, in appropriate cases. In other cases, after completion of the record on appeal, including any briefs, motions, or other submissions on appeal, the Board member or panel to which the case is assigned shall issue a decision on the merits as soon as practicable, with a priority for cases or custody appeals involving detained aliens.
(i) Except in exigent circumstances as determined by the Chairman, or as provided in paragraph (d)(6) of this section, the Board shall dispose of all appeals assigned to a single Board member within 90 days of completion of the record on appeal, or within 180 days after an appeal is assigned to a three-member panel (including any additional opinion by a member of the panel).
(ii) In exigent circumstances, the Chairman may grant an extension in particular cases of up to 60 days as a matter of discretion. Except as provided in paragraph (e)(8)(iii) or (iv) of this section, in those cases where the panel is unable to issue a decision within the established time limits, as extended, the Chairman shall either assign the case to himself or a Vice Chairman for final decision within 14 days or shall refer the case to the Director for decision. If a dissenting or concurring panel member fails to complete his or her opinion by the end of the extension period, the decision of the majority will be issued without the separate opinion. For a case referred to the Director under this paragraph, the Director shall exercise delegated authority from the Attorney General identical to that of the Board as described in this section, including the authority to issue a precedent decision and the authority to refer the case to the Attorney General for review, either on his own or at the direction of the Attorney General.
(iii) In rare circumstances, when an impending decision by the United States Supreme Court or a United States Court of Appeals, or impending Department regulatory amendments, or an impending en banc Board decision may substantially determine the outcome of a case or group of cases pending before the Board, the Chairman may hold the case or cases until such decision is rendered, temporarily suspending the time limits described in this paragraph (e)(8).
(iv) For any case ready for adjudication as of September 25, 2002, and that has not been completed within the established time lines, the Chairman may, as a matter of discretion, grant an extension of up to 120 days.
(v) The Chairman shall notify the Director of EOIR and the Attorney General if a Board member consistently fails to meet the assigned deadlines for the disposition of appeals, or otherwise fails to adhere to the standards of the case management system. The Chairman shall also prepare a report assessing the timeliness of the disposition of cases by each Board member on an annual basis.
(vi) The provisions of this paragraph (e)(8) establishing time limits for the adjudication of appeals reflect an internal management directive in favor of timely dispositions, but do not affect the validity of any decision issued by the Board and do not, and shall not be interpreted to, create any substantive or procedural rights enforceable before any immigration judge or the Board, or in any court of law or equity.
(9) The provisions of paragraphs (e)(4)(i) and (e)(5) and (6) of this section are internal agency directives for the purpose of efficient management and disposition of cases pending before the Board and are not intended to create any substantive or procedural rights to a particular form of Board decision. A decision by the Board under paragraph (e)(4), (5), or (6) of this section carries the presumption that the Board properly and thoroughly considered all issues, arguments, and claims raised or presented by the parties on appeal or in a motion that were deemed appropriate to the disposition of the appeal or motion, whether or not specifically mentioned in the decision. A decision by the Board under paragraph (e)(4), (5), or (6) also carries the presumption that the Board did not need to consider any issue, argument, or claim not raised or presented by the parties on appeal or in a motion to the Board. In any decision under paragraph (e)(5) or (6) of this section, the Board may rule, in the exercise of its discretion as provided under this part, on any issue, argument, or claim not raised by the parties, and the Board may solicit supplemental briefing from the parties on the issues to be considered before rendering a decision.
(f) Service of Board decisions. The decision of the Board shall be in writing and copies thereof shall be transmitted by the Board to the Service and a copy shall be served upon the alien or party affected as provided in part 292 of this chapter.
(g) Decisions as precedents -
(1) In general. Except as Board decisions may be modified or overruled by the Board or the Attorney General, decisions of the Board and decisions of the Attorney General are binding on all officers and employees of DHS or immigration judges in the administration of the immigration laws of the United States.
(2) Precedent decisions. Selected decisions designated by the Board, decisions of the Attorney General, and decisions of the Secretary of Homeland Security as provided in paragraph (h)(2)(i) of this section will be published and serve as precedents in all proceedings involving the same issue or issues.
(3) Designation of precedents. By majority vote of the permanent Board members, or as directed by the Attorney General or his designee, selected decisions of the Board issued by a three-member panel or by the Board en banc may be designated to be published and to serve as precedents in all proceedings involving the same issue or issues. In determining whether to publish a precedent decision, the Board may take into account relevant considerations, in the exercise of discretion, including among other matters:
(i) Whether the case involves a substantial issue of first impression;
(ii) Whether the case involves a legal, factual, procedural, or discretionary issue that can be expected to arise frequently in immigration cases;
(v) Whether there is a need to achieve, maintain, or restore national uniformity of interpretation of issues under the immigration laws or regulations; and
(vi) Whether the case warrants publication in light of other factors that give it general public interest.
(h) Referral of cases to the Attorney General.
(iii) The Secretary of Homeland Security, or specific officials of the Department of Homeland Security designated by the Secretary with the concurrence of the Attorney General, refers to the Attorney General for review.
(2) In any case the Attorney General decides, the Attorney General's decision shall be stated in writing and shall be transmitted to the Board or Secretary, as appropriate, for transmittal and service as provided in paragraph (f) of this section.
(i) Publication of Secretary's precedent decisions. The Secretary of Homeland Security, or specific officials of the Department of Homeland Security designated by the Secretary with the concurrence of the Attorney General, may file with the Attorney General decisions relating to the administration of the immigration laws of the United States for publication as precedent in future proceedings, and, upon approval of the Attorney General as to the lawfulness of such decision, the Director of the Executive Office for Immigration Review shall cause such decisions to be published in the same manner as decisions of the Board and the Attorney General.
(j) Continuation of jurisdiction and procedure. The jurisdiction of, and procedures before, the Board of Immigration Appeals in exclusion, deportation, removal, rescission, asylum-only, and any other proceedings, shall remain in effect as in effect on February 28, 2003, until the regulations in this chapter are further modified by the Attorney General. Where a decision of an officer of the Immigration and Naturalization Service was, before March 1, 2003, appealable to the Board or to an immigration judge, or an application denied could be renewed in proceedings before an immigration judge, the same authority and procedures shall be followed until further modified by the Attorney General.