\ afm \ Adjudicator's Field Manual - Redacted Public Version \ Chapter 14 Sources of Information / Conducting Research. \ 14.4 Decisions of Administrative Appellate Bodies.
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14.4 Decisions of Administrative Appellate Bodies.
While the statutes and regulations are the primary sources of immigration law, the application of the laws and regulations to actual cases (i.e., the interpretation of the laws and regulations) is also important because it gives you guidelines for handling similar cases. The Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA), located in Falls Church, Virginia, is the major administrative appellate body that decides immigration matters. Published
designated as precedent by the Board are binding on all
officers and immigration judges unless modified or overruled by the Attorney General or a Federal court.
The majority of appeals reaching the Board involve orders of removal and decisions on applications for relief from removal. Other appellate matters within the Board’s jurisdiction include the following: exclusion of aliens applying for admission to the United States; visa petitions to classify the status of alien relatives for the issuance of immigrant status; applications to preserve residence for naturalization purposes (Form N-470); fines imposed upon carriers for the violation of immigration laws; and
motions for the reopening and reconsideration of decisions previously rendered. Certain decisions may be certified to the Board by other immigration officials.
BIA decisions can be found at
. The BIA bulletin board (#BIA Interim Decisions) on cc:Mail contains recently published decisions. Your district may also have paper copies of BIA decisions that have not yet been included on I-LINK. Significant BIA decisions are published and indexed on I-LINK to make them readily accessible by
Section 3.1 of 8 CFR
, “Executive Office for Immigration Review,” subpart A, “Board of Immigration Appeals,” discusses the organization of the BIA and its authority.
When first published,
BIA precedent decisions
are designated with an "interim decision" number. Periodically, interim decisions are collected and published chronologically. These are entitled Administrative Decisions Under the Immigration and Nationality Laws of the United States. Once published in this format, precedent decisions may still be referred to by their interim decision number, but are more likely to be referred to by volume and page number. (For example, 19 I&N 234 is found in volume 19, beginning on page 234.) Volume 15 contains a cu
mulative index for cases published in volumes 1–15, and volume 20 contains a cumulative index for cases published in volumes 16–20. Volumes 16-22, along with those decisions issued since the publication of volume 22, are available on-line at the EOIR website:
. You can find relevant cases by searching under a subject heading in the index.
Many cases not appealable to the BIA are appealable internally to the
Administrative Appeals Office (AAO). The AAO may also publish precedent decisions, which are indexed and published in the same volumes as those of the BIA. The AAO may also submit decisions to the BIA for certification, which may, in turn, be designated by the Board as a precedent decision and published.
The Office of the Chief Administrative Hearing Officer (OCAHO) only hears cases regarding certain fines and penalties. Directives issued by the OCAHO designated with a “P” following their file number and issued in the form of memoranda and cables are binding on
employees, as are other policy issuances such as the materials contained in I-LINK.