Brand X Can Be A Force For Good: David A. Isaacson on Matter of Douglas

Brand X Can Be A Force For Good: David A. Isaacson on Matter of Douglas

"On October 17, 2013, its first day back to normal operations after the end of the recent federal government shutdown, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) issued a precedential opinion, Matter of Douglas, 26 I&N Dec. 197 (BIA 2013).   At first glance,Matter of Douglas is about an interesting but obscure aspect of a section of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) that was repealed more than a decade ago.  But perhaps more importantly, Matter of Douglas is also an example of the BIA using its authority to go against Court of Appeals precedent decisions under National Cable & Telecommunications Assn. v. Brand X Internet Services, 545 U.S. 967 (2005) (“Brand X”), to the benefit of an immigrant and potential U.S. citizen rather than to the detriment of the immigrant. ... Now that the BIA has acknowledged in Matter of Douglas that Brand X is not a one-way ratchet and can also work in favor of immigrants, however, it is important for practitioners to keep Brand X in mind when they are faced with unfavorable Court of Appeals case law interpreting an ambiguous immigration statute.  Especially where existing BIA case law in other circuits is more favorable, an unfavorable Court of Appeals decision in a particular circuit need not be the last word." - David A. Isaacson, Oct. 21, 2013.