A seasoned immigration attorney, Ms. Alison Yew, started a discussion regarding tactics in immigration court. I responded to her question, and thought the answer could be useful to other practitioners and individuals working on immigration cases.
Matter of Avetisyan is a case relating to the judge’s discretion to admin close a matter over DHS’s objections. The case states that “neither an Immigration Judge nor the Board may abdicate the responsibility to exercise independent judgment and discretion in a case by permitting a party’s opposition to act as an absolute bar to administrative closure of that case when circumstances otherwise warrant such action.”
I’ve requested DHS’s stipulation to _TERMINATE_ (as opposed to admin closure) on the grounds the respondent (my client) has basis to adjust status (married to US citizen, whose I-130 petition has been approved, and client entered the US on a visa which he has now overstayed). In my motion to terminate I want to use the Matter of Avetisyan, but this is an admin close case. Has any one successfully argued that Avetisyan applies to termination?
Great question, and sure, we’ve used this before. That case actually stands for the fact that an IJ can’t relinquish his/her duty to decide a motion (or case!) to the DHS attorney. Although this was couched in the argument of admin closure, it is not strictly tied to that. The judge must weigh the merits his/herself. As such, it applies to any application or motion where you would like the judge to rule on an action over the objection of DHS. The exception, of course, is when a statute or CFR requires DHS concurrence in order to move forward.
“In deciding individual cases, an Immigration Judge must exercise his or her independent judgment and discretion and may take any action consistent with the Act and regulations that is appropriate and necessary for the disposition of such cases. 8 C.F.R. §1003.10(b).” – Matter of Avetisyan
If you have a question regarding immigration court, or tactics for handling (or closing!) your case, give us a ring! We’d be glad to help.