Jurisdiction and Venue in Removal Proceedings
This proposed rule would amend the Department of Justice (Department) regulations addressing jurisdiction and venue in removal proceedings. The amendment is necessary due to the increasing number of removal hearings being conducted by telephone and video conference. The proposed rule establishes that venue shall lie at the place of the hearing as identified on the charging document or initial hearing notice, unless an immigration judge has granted a change of venue to a different location. The hearing location is the same whether or not the immigration judge or a party to the proceeding appears at the hearing location in person or participates in the hearing by telephone or video conference. The proposed rule also establishes that removal proceedings shall be deemed to be completed at the location of the final hearing, regardless of whether all parties are physically present at that location. The Department also proposes to amend the regulations to state expressly that, when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) files a charging document, jurisdiction vests with the Office of the Chief Immigration Judge (OCIJ) within the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR).