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Administrative Law Research: Immigration Concentration Class Site

Other Immigration Federal Agency Decisions

In addition to the administrative immigration court system, a few other immigration agencies have the power to issue opinions/decisions to enforce immigration statutes/regulations. 

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Decisions

After a USCIS officer has made a decision about an immigration benefit, the Administrative Appeals Office conducts an administrative review of decisions in order to promote consistency and accuracy in the interpretation of immigration law and policy. It has appellate jurisdiction over approximately fifty different types of immigration applications and petitions.

Types of Decisions

Non-Precedent Decisions: According to the AAO website, "non-precedent decisions apply existing law and policy to the facts of an individual case. These decisions are binding on the parties involved in the case, but do not create or modify USCIS policy or practice."

Precedent Decisions: According to the AAO website, an "AAO decision may be designated as a “precedent decision” by the joint approval of the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Board of Immigration Appeals, and the Attorney General. Precedent decisions are legally binding on the DHS components responsible for enforcing immigration laws in all proceedings involving the same issues."

Adopted AAO Decisions: According to the AAO website, "USCIS occasionally “adopts” an AAO non-precedent decision to provide policy guidance for USCIS personnel."

Jurisdiction

The AAO has appellate jurisdiction over approximately fifty different types of immigration applications and petitions such as Petitions for R-1 Nonimmigrant Religious Workers, Petition for Nonimmigrant Temporary Workers, Trainees, Fianc(é)es, Revocation of Nonimmigrant Petition, etc. etc.

Appeals

Some types of AAO decisions can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA).

Where to Find Decisions

AAO decisions are available on the USCIS site, Westlaw, and Lexis.

Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) Decisions

The Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) hears appeals of denials of labor certification.

Main Agency

BALCA is part the Department of Labor's Office of Administrative Law Judges

Jurisdiction

BALCA hears appeals of denials of labor certification from Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ) which adjudicates several types of immigration-related.

Where to Find Decisions

Decisions are available on the BALCA websiteWestlaw, and Lexis.