BALCA Lets It All Hang Out, OAA Never Does

By David North on September 24, 2010

There's a nice contrast between two of the sets of administrative courts handling immigration cases – the Labor Department's Board of Alien Labor Certification Appeals (BALCA) and the DHS' Office of Administrative Appeals (OAA).

BALCA is considerably less secretive than OAA as this instance shows.

The case before the DOL panel involved an employer who wanted a labor certification, and thus a green card, for Donaciano Miranda, one of his workers.

The employer, White Oak Farms, presumably in California, had filed an inept application for the certification, leaving out both his own name and an identification of the job in question, two fairly central features. The DOL adjudicator, the certifying officer, denied the application.

Then White Oak hired a lawyer, James P. Doan of Santa Anna, to fight the denial. I now quote from the August 18 BALCA decision:

The Employer's argument on appeal was: "According to DOL regulations guidelines the job title, contact name, brief job description and phone number is sufficient information to appear on the ad. If there is any other requirements [sic] please site [sic] me the law".

The judges cited the law and denied the appeal.

In addition to the telling quotation, BALCA printed the name of the alien, the name of the would-be employer, and best of all, the name of the attorney. This is the agency's standard practice.

In an OAA decision none of those identifications would have been given. In virtually every other court documentation system I have ever experienced, the name of the lawyer is always shown.

Mr. Doan probably would have preferred losing his case in the OAA setting, instead of before BALCA.

I am indebted to Interpreter Releases, the trade paper of the immigration bar, for its coverage of BALCA decisions in its August 30 issue.