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CA1 on BIA Sua Sponte Reopening Authority: Mancia v. Garland

August 07, 2023 (1 min read)

Mancia v. Garland

"Mancia would like to have her removal proceedings reopened so that her request for suspension of deportation can be adjudicated according to the still-extant substantive NACARA standards. ... She contends that nothing in NACARA limits the Board's general discretionary power to reopen sua sponte a case in which it has rendered a decision. Indeed, that inherent discretion is codified. See 8 C.F.R. § 1003.2(a). So, she reasons, even though the special and more petitioner-friendly reopening avenue of section 203(c) closed to her in 1998, there is no reason why she cannot ask the Board to grant reopening under its discretionary authority, subject to all the limits that otherwise apply to that authority. ... We agree with Mancia. The Board's reliance on 8 C.F.R. § 1003.43(h) -- requiring filing of section 203(c) reopening requests with the Immigration Court -- is misplaced because that requirement only applies to "any motion to reopen filed pursuant to the special rules of section 309(g) of IIRIRA, as amended by section 203(c) of NACARA." See 8 C.F.R. § 1003.43(h)(1). Mancia's motion to reopen is no such motion. And nothing in NACARA requires those seeking relief under its provisions to do so by filing a section 203(c) motion. The government points to no statute, rule, or precedent to the contrary. And we see no reason why NACARA should be read as implicitly divesting the Board of its discretion to sua sponte reopen a proceeding. ... For the foregoing reasons, we grant Mancia's petition by vacating the Board's rejection of her motion to reopen her removal proceedings pursuant to the Board's sua sponte authority and remanding for further consideration of that motion consistent with this opinion."

[Hats off to Margaret "Meg" Moran!]