A precedent decision was issued by the BIA today in Matter of U. Singh. We will discuss the central holding in a longer post tomorrow. This evening I just have two side notes. First, Garry Malphrus is again on the panel. That makes 6 decisions in a row. It’s probably a trend that means nothing, but it seems significant.
The second sidenote is the less controversial part of the BIA’s holding – it affirmed the rule that it follows the law of the Circuit in which the case it arises, but it is not bound to follow a decision of a court of appeals in a different circuit. See Matter of Salazar, 23 I&N Dec. 223, 235 (BIA 2002). This case is different from Salazar though. Unlike in Salazar, in this case the IJ considered whether he was supposed to apply the decision from Matter of Malta, which the 9th circuit had vacated on appeal. The BIA says it doesn’t matter. Even if Matter of Malta was vacated when Malta appealed to the 9th circuit, people in other circuits are still bound by it. This announcement will have pretty limited implications, but it is worth noting.