How to Stop Removal Proceedings with Administrative Closure


We’ve recently covered prosecutorial discretion and how immigration court cases for removal may be dismissed or postponed. We’re going to look at some great news from the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) that will affect anyone who is currently wading the backlog of U.S. immigration proceedings and is at risk for removal.

On July 15, Attorney General Garland issued a decision on a previous decision to end the practice of administrative closure made by Attorney General Sessions under the guise of security from the Trump administration and its more restrictive immigration policies.

The new decision to reinstate administrative closure is a form of relief for immigrants facing deportation and also for judges and the court backlog of immigration active docket cases under review.

Let’s take a look at this prosecutorial discretion tool and how it can affect your legal status in the U.S.

What is administrative closure?

Administrative closure is a docket management tool that could be used to temporarily pause removal proceedings – – administrative proceedings to determine an individual’s removability under United States immigration law.

What does administrative closure do?

The use of administrative closure does not entirely terminate or dismiss an immigration case. But it allows the court system to remove an immigration case from an immigration judge or from the Board of Immigration Appeals’ (BIA) docket, which has an overwhelming backlog of immigration cases to review.

It might sound like this practice of prosecutorial discretion is for the benefit of immigration judges, and it is, but it could actually benefit many immigrants who are facing immigration proceedings.

How does administrative closure affect your immigration case?

We all know that there are plenty of hard-working immigrants here with illegal status. Many who are at risk for deportation have built their lives in the U.S. and have families who rely upon them. Unfortunately, a great deal of these people happen to be in the middle of removal proceedings, even though they have a clear pathway to residency and have been a great asset to their community.

It’s clear that DACA dreamers, immigrants here seeking asylum, and immigrants with spouses and family are on the road to legal status in the U.S. However, it’s still under the discretion of an immigration judge and the prosecutor to determine who should and should not be facing a case of imminent removal from the U.S.

Through this prosecutorial discretion, an immigration court judge can focus on factors that make certain immigrants more deserving of legal status and the reasons that some undocumented people should remain in the backlog of removal proceedings.

Illegal immigrants with pending removal from the U.S. who have not committed serious and violent offenses are much more likely to receive a favorable decision from the office for immigration review.

To administratively close a pending immigration case, this form of prosecutorial discretion allows an immigration attorney to form a very strong application to approach the prosecutor and argue the merit of an upstanding immigrant who is on the cusp of residency in the U.S.

The data has shown the Trump administration and their decision to end this form of prosecutorial discretion have only worked to create a more dense backlog of immigration court cases pending review. Hence, the decision to reinstate this practice is music to our ears.

Prosecutorial discretion is an amazing tool and form of relief for the immigration court’s attempt to get back to a better functioning level of government, but more importantly, it’s another means for immigrants to quickly move forward on a pathway to some kind of status in the U.S.

If you have questions about your immigration status and whether or not you or someone you love are in deportation proceedings, it’s important to have a trusted and experienced immigration lawyer to take advantage of the practice of administrative closure and report the merits of your case to the BIA.

Reach out to one of our trusted immigration attorneys to see if this decision might be the opportunity for you or your loved one to get out of deportation proceedings and stay in this country until a legal status can be obtained.

We will continue to report the news from immigration courts that affect you and our American immigration process.

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