\ fr \ Federal Register Publications (CIS, ICE, CBP) \ Federal Register Publications (Legacy INS) - 2002 \ FEDERAL REGISTER FINAL REGULATIONS - 2002 \ Board of Immigration Appeals: Procedural Reforms to Improve Case Management [67 FR 54878][FR 44-02] \ K. Transition Period and Reduction of the Backlog
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Transition Period and Reduction of the Backlog
A number of commenters suggested that the period of time imposed within the proposed rule for the Board to meet the backlog reduction requirements was far too short. They argued that the sheer numbers of cases to be decided within that six-month period would reduce the amount of time available for each case, with some commenters offering calculations that this would be reduced to approximately 15 minutes.
The Department disagrees with these comments and has not altered the time frame for eliminating the backlog of pending cases. Pure mathematical formulas in this area have the beauty of simplicity, but are deceptive. Calculating an average amount of time for a single Board member to decide one case overlooks the differences in cases themselves and the preparatory work that goes into decisions. For example, the Department expects that a clearly untimely appeal can be dispatched promptly by a Board member unde
r the streamlining process. For each such simple case (and the Board's experience streamlining has shown there are many), more time is afforded for considering the issues to which the Board's time should be devoted.
Moreover, the six-month time frame runs from the effective date of the rule, not the date on which it is published in the Federal Register. To say that the Board has not been on notice of this rule also disserves the Board. The Board has been diligently preparing for the implementation of this rule to reduce its backlog of pending cases since the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published on February 19, 2002. The Board has increased its disposition rate dramatically. In 2000, the first full year in which
the Board utilized streamlining, the Board averaged 1800 dispositions per month. With the expanded use of streamlining, dispositions increased to an average of 2600 per month in 2001. In February, 2002, when the proposed rule was published, the Board decided 3300 cases. In recent months, utilizing its authority under streamlining, the Board has increased dispositions to an average of over 5200 dispositions per month. With the additional authority granted by this final rule, the Department believes that it i
s reasonable to expect the Board to bring the caseload backlog down to, or near, a current balance within the six-month transition period. The Department is aware, of course, that specific factors, such as the requirement that the Board improve on providing transcripts to the parties in a timely manner, may adversely impact the disposition rate against the number of cases available for disposition by accelerating the number of records that are available for disposition. The Department is convinced that the
transition period is sufficient for the Board to reduce the backlog. Accordingly, the Department is unconvinced that this implementation period should be altered.
Administrative Fines Cases
The Department has decided to address the transfer of administrative fines cases to the Office of the Chief Hearing Examiner (OCAHO) in a separate final rule because of a technical legal issue unrelated to the proposed rule and the comments received on the proposed rule. The Department plans to publish this separate final rule in the near future.
Miscellaneous and Technical Issues
1. The Board's Pro Bono Project
Several commenters stated that the Department should not take any administrative actions that would disrupt the success of the Board's Pro Bono Project. Although these comments fall outside the scope of the proposed and final rule, the Department wishes to take this opportunity to assure the bench, bar, and public of its commitment to this process. On January 17, 2001, EOIR announced a Pro Bono Project that links volunteer representatives from around the country with detained immigrants who lack legal repre
sentation. The Department fully supports this partnership between the government and nonprofit organizations. The Department recognizes the value of representation for respondents in the removal process. Although respondents generally are able to present their points of view ably, often with the assistance of language translators, the availability of attorneys and representatives learned in the technical aspects of immigration law is useful both to guide the respondent and to conserve judicial resources of
the immigration judges and the Board.
2. Fundamental Changes in Structure
Other commenters have suggested substantial changes in the underlying structure of the administrative immigration adjudication system. For example, some suggested that respondents should be charged filing and transcript fees more commensurate with the actual costs of the proceedings. Another comment, as well as a proposal by a former Member of the House Judiciary Committee, was that the Department abolish automatic appeals (either generally or of denial of asylum by Service asylum officers) or that only a d
iscretionary appeal to the Board be allowed. The Department believes that these proposals fall outside the scope of the present rule and will not consider such proposals at this time.
3. Technical Amendments
The Department has changed the regulation in § 3.1(a)(4) to permit administrative law judges (ALJs) retired from EOIR to serve as temporary Board members. Under the existing regulations, ALJs from OCAHO may participate in Board decisions as temporary members. Accordingly, the Department has determined that this technical change should be made in the final rule.
Section 3.1(e), dealing with the case management system, begins by instructing the Chairman to establish a case management system to screen all “appeals.” The current streamlining process screens, and the proposed rule was designed to provide screening of, all cases filed with the Board, including motions as well as appeals. Accordingly, the term has been changed to reflect the existing practice and the intent behind the proposed rule.
The Department has changed the rule in § 3.1(e)(8) to eliminate the words “denials of review as a matter of discretion” because it has been suggested that these words imply that the Board has authority to deny review as a matter of discretion. This was not the Department's intent. To eliminate this concern, the text has been changed.
The proposed rule in § 3.1(e)(8)(ii) provides the Chairman with the authority, in exigent circumstances, to issue a decision where a panel is unable to meet the time limits. The Department has amended the rule to permit the Chairman the authority to delegate such decisions to a Vice-Chairman.
Regulatory Flexibility Act
The Attorney General, in accordance with 5 U.S.C. 605(b), has reviewed this rule and, by approving it, certifies that it affects only Departmental employees, aliens, or their representatives who appear in proceedings before the Board of Immigration Appeals, and carriers who appeal decisions of Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) officers. Therefore, this rule does not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities.
Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995
This rule will not result in the expenditure by state, local, and tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100 million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995.
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996
This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 251 of the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996, 5 U.S.C. 804. This rule will not result in an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices; or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and export markets.
Executive Order 12866
This rule has been drafted and reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866, section 1(b), Principles of Regulation. The Department has determined that this rule is a “significant regulatory action” under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review. Accordingly, this rule has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for review.
Executive Order 13132
This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States, on the relationship between the national government and the States, or on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of Executive Order 13132, the Department of Justice has determined that this rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant a federalism summary impact statement.
Executive Order 12988
This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988, Civil Justice Reform.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
The Executive Office of Immigration Review has submitted the following information collection requests to the Office of Management and Budget for review and approval in accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. The proposed information collections are published to obtain comments from the public and affected agencies. Comments are encouraged and will be accepted for sixty days. This process is conducted in accordance with 5 CFR 1320.10.
If you have comments on the estimated public burden or associated response time, suggestions, or need a copy of one of the proposed information collection instruments with instructions or additional information, please contact the Executive Office for Immigration Review as noted above. Written comments and suggestions from the public and affected agencies concerning the proposed collections of information are encouraged. Your comments should address one or more of the following four points: (1) Evaluate whe
ther the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information will have practical utility; (2) evaluate the accuracy of the agency's estimate of the burden of the proposed collection of information, including the validity of the methodology and assumptions used; (3) enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (4) minimize the burden of the collection of information on those who are t
o respond, including through the use of appropriate automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques or other forms of information technology, e.g., permitting electronic submission of responses.
The first information collection, titled Notice of Appeal from a Decision of an Immigration Judge, is a revision of a currently approved collection. The agency form number is EOIR-26. The information collected will be sponsored by the Executive Office for Immigration Review for parties affected by a decision of an Immigration Judge who may appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals, provided the Board has jurisdiction pursuant to 8 CFR 3.1(b). An appeal from an Immigration Judge's decision is taken by compl
eting the form and submitting it to the Board. The collection will be distributed primarily to the Federal Government. It is estimated that 23,417 complainants will report one complaint, taking an average of 30 minutes to complete. This will result in 23,417 responses with an estimated total of 11,707 annual burden hours. This is a reduction of 1,791.5 in burden hours due to a decrease in the number of appeals filed with the Board since this form was last approved in 1999.
The second information collection, titled Notice of Appeal to the Board of Immigration Appeals from a Decision of a Service Officer, is a revision of a currently approved collection, occasioned by changes in the regulations. The agency form number is EOIR-29. The information collected will be sponsored by the Executive Office for Immigration Review for a party affected by a decision of a Service Officer who may appeal that decision to the Board of Immigration Appeals, provided the board has jurisdiction pur
suant to 8 CFR 3.1(b). An appeal from a Service Officer's decision is taken by completing the form EOIR-29. It is then submitted to the Service office having administrative control over the record of proceedings. The collection will be distributed primarily to individuals and households. It is estimated that 3,156 complainants will report one complaint, taking an average of 30 minutes to complete. This will result in 3,156 responses with an estimated total of 1,578 annual burden hours, which is the same as
Plain Language Instructions
We try to write clearly. If you can suggest how to improve the clarity of these regulations, call or write Charles Adkins-Blanch, General Counsel, Executive Office for Immigration Review, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600, Falls Church, Virginia 22041, telephone (703) 305-0470.
List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 3
Accordingly, for the reasons set forth in the preamble, part 3 of chapter I of title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations is amended as follows:
PART 3--EXECUTIVE OFFICE FOR IMMIGRATION REVIEW
1. The authority citation for 8 CFR part 3 continues to read as follows:
Authority: 5 U.S.C. 301; 8 U.S.C. 1101 note, 1103, 1252 note, 1252b, 1324b, 1362; 28 U.S.C. 509, 510, 1746; sec. 2, Reorg. Plan No. 2 of 1950, 3 CFR, 1949-1953 Comp., p. 1002; section 203 of Pub. L. 105-100, 111 Stat. 2196-200; sections 1506 and 1510 of Pub. L. 106-386; 114 Stat. 1527-29, 1531-32; section 1505 of Pub. L. 106-554, 114 Stat. 2763A-326 to -328.
2. Amend § 3.1 by:
a. Revising the heading;
b. Revising paragraphs (a)(1) through (a)(6) and paragraph (b) introductory text;
c. Revising paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(2)(i) introductory text, (d)(2)(ii), (d)(2)(iii), and (d)(3);
d. Redesignating paragraphs (d)(2)(i)(D) through (G) as paragraphs (d)(2)(i)(E) through (H), respectively, and adding a new paragraph (d)(2)(i)(D);
e. Revising paragraph (d)(4) and adding paragraphs (d)(5) and (d)(6); and
f. Revising paragraphs (e) and (g), to read as follows:
§ 3.1 Organization, jurisdiction, and powers of the Board of Immigration Appeals.
. 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. Within six months of the implementation of the case management screening system as provided in paragraph (e) of this section, or such other time as may be specified by the Attorney Gen
eral, the Board shall be reduced to eleven members as designated by the Attorney General. 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 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.
(i) The Chairman, subject to the supervision of the Director, shall direct, supervise, and establish internal operating procedures and policies of the Board. The Chairman shall have authority to:
(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.
. 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 B
oard members, as needed, to serve on the screening panel to implement the case management process as provided in paragraph (e) of this section.
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, additional Board members for terms not to exceed six months. A temporary Board member assigned to a case may continue to participate in the case to its normal conclusion, but shall have no role in the actions of the Board en banc.
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 o
r maintain consistency of the Board's decisions.
. 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.
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. Appeals may be filed with the Board of Immigration Appeals from the following:
Powers of the Board
. 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 administ
ration 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.
Summary dismissal of appeals
. A single Board member or panel may summarily dismiss any appeal or portion of any appeal in any case in which:
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(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;
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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.
. The filing by an attorney or representative accredited under § 292.2(d) of this chapter of an appeal that is summarily dismissed under paragraph (d)(2)(i) of this section may constitute frivolous behavior under § 3.102(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.
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.
(ii) The Board may review questions of law, discretion, and judgment and all other issues in appeals from decisions of immigration judges de novo.
(iii) The Board may review all questions arising in appeals from decisions issued by Service officers de novo.
(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.
(4) Rules of practice. The Board shall have authority, with the approval of the Director, EOIR, to prescribe procedures governing proceedings before it.
(5) Discipline of attorneys and representatives. The Board shall determine whether any organization or individual desiring to represent aliens in immigration proceedings meets the requirements as set forth in § 292.2 of this chapter. It shall also determine whether any organization desiring representation is of a kind described in § 1.1(j) of this chapter, and shall regulate the conduct of attorneys, representatives of organizations, and others who appear in a representative capacity before the Board or th
e Service or any immigration judge.
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.
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 numbe
r of Board members who are authorized, acting alone, to adjudicate appeals as provided in this paragraph.
. 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.
. 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 is
sues as provided by the case management plan.
. 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 paragra
ph (e)(6) of this section. The Board member may summarily dismiss an appeal after completion of the record of proceeding.
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 ne
cessarily 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.
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 rev
ersal 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.
. 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;
(iii) The need to review a decision by an immigration judge or the Service that is not in conformity with the law or with applicable precedents;
(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; or
(vi) The need to reverse the decision of an immigration judge or the Service, other than a reversal under § 3.1(e)(5).
. 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 S
ervice 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, 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 Attorney General for decision. If a dissenting or concurring pane
l 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.
(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.
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Decisions of the Board as precedents
. Except as they may be modified or overruled by the Board or the Attorney General, decisions of the Board shall be binding on all officers and employees of the Service or immigration judges in the administration of the Act. By majority vote of the permanent Board members, selected decisions of the Board rendered by a three-member panel or by the Board en banc may be designated to serve as precedents in all proceedings involving the same issue or issues.
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3. In § 3.2, paragraph (i) is amended by adding after the first sentence a new sentence, to read as follows: