BIA Allows Immigration Judges To Decide Portability Issues

On January 21, 2010 the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a decision which expanded the powers of immigration judges who are considering deportation of individuals with approved work-related visa petitions and who have pending permanent residence applications; Matter of Neto. The issue was whether an immigration judge has the authority to decide whether the approved visa petition – issued for one job – remains valid when the individual changes jobs.

In Neto the Board overrules an earlier BIA decision that denied judges this authority and will now allow them to decide whether a new job is acceptable.

The American Immigration Council’s (AIC) Legal Action Center filed an amicus brief in the case. Mary Kenney an AIC attorney said the decision "will impact hundreds if not thousands of individuals in removal proceedings and will ensure that they have a full and fair opportunity to demonstrate to an immigration judge that they are eligible to become legal permanent residents"

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