The Department of Justice (DOJ) published a final rule, effective January 15, 2021, making multiple changes to processing appeals to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) and to clarify “that there is no freestanding authority of line immigration judges or BIA members to administratively close cases.” The final rule responds to comments made on a proposed rule issued in August 2020 and adopts the proposed rule “with minor changes.”

Among other things, the final rule reduces the maximum allowable time for an extension of the briefing schedule for “good cause shown” from 90 days to 14 days. The rule limits the parties to one possible extension, consistent with BIA policy “not to grant second briefing extension requests.” The rule also “adopts simultaneous briefing schedules instead of consecutive briefing schedules for all cases.” In response to comments, DOJ also made adjustments to the biometrics timeline to allow for circumstances such as delays by the Department of Homeland Security or lack of sufficient notice.

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