Immigration, Legislation, Litigation, Visas

Immigration Judge Jurisdiction over INA § 204(j) Portability

From LegalActionCenter.org, 22 Sept 2011.

Because the process for an immigrant worker to become a lawful permanent resident can be quite lengthy, Congress enacted a provision in 2001 that gives immigrant workers needed job flexibility. A worker with an approved visa petition and a pending application for permanent residence can change jobs during the transition period if the new job is the same or similar to the job for which the original visa was approved.  In a precedent decision issued in 2005, the BIA ruled that an immigration judge did not have jurisdiction to decide whether an applicant’s new job was the same or similar to the prior job. Matter of Perez-Vargas, 23 I&N Dec. 829 (BIA 2005).  This effectively prevented many noncitizen workers who had changed jobs in accordance with the law from having their permanent resident applications approved.

The Legal Action Center successfully challenged this decision in several courts of appeals. These decisions and our arguments, in turn, persuaded the BIA to withdraw Matter of Perez-Vargas and issue a new decision finding that immigration judges do have jurisdiction to decide this issue.

CASES

Ahmad v. Mukasey, No. 08-4081 (2d Cir. amicus brief filed Jan. 16, 2009) (remanding case to BIA for new decision in light of the Board’s decision in Matter of Neto).

Matter of Neto, No. A095-861-144 (BIA amicus brief filed Aug. 27, 2009).  In a precedent decision, the BIA adopted the position of the Legal Action Center and vacated Matter of Perez Vargas.  Matter of Neto, 25 I&N Dec. 169 (BIA 2010).

Perez-Vargas v. Gonzales, No. 05-2313 (4th Cir. amicus brief filed June 14, 2006).  In a precedent decision, the court overturned the BIA’s decision and ruled that immigration judges do have jurisdiction to decide whether a new job is the “same or similar” to the prior job.  Perez-Vargas v. Gonzales, 478 F.3d 191 (4th Cir. 2007).

Source: From LegalActionCenter.org, “Immigration Judge Jurisdiction over INA § 204(j) Portability” 22 Sept 2011.

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