Friday, November 20, 2009

BIA Decision: Clarification of Voluntary Departure Requirements

The Board of Immigration Appeals has just issued a decision entitled Matter of Catherine VELASCO, 25 I&N Dec. 143 (BIA 2009).

The Board has ruled that:

(1) The voluntary departure regulations at 8 C.F.R. § 1240.26(c)(4), Nt. (2009), which took effect on January 20, 2009, and superseded Matter of Diaz-Ruacho, 24 I&N Dec. 47 (BIA 2006), do not apply retroactively.

(2) Where an Immigration Judge granted voluntary departure prior to January 20, 2009, and the alien failed to timely post the voluntary departure bond required by section 240B(b)(3)of the Immigration and Nationality Act, 8 U.S.C. § 1229c(b)(3) (2006), the former regulatory scheme, as interpreted in Matter of Diaz-Ruacho, remains applicable, and the penalties imposed by section 240B(d)(1) for failure to depart within the voluntary departure period do not apply.

(3) Pursuant to 8 C.F.R. § 1240.26(c)(3)(ii), Nt., a voluntary departure order entered by an Immigration Judge on or after January 20, 2009, will not be reinstated by the Board of Immigration Appeals in its final order on appeal unless the alien provides the Board, within 30 days of filing the appeal, sufficient proof that the voluntary departure bond was timely posted with the Department of Homeland Security.

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