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AG Sessions issues Matter of Castro-Tum, restricting administrative closure

  1. Original Date Announced

    May 17, 2018

    AG Sessions rules in Matter of Castro-Tum that IJs and the BIA do not have the general authority to suspend cases indefinitely through administrative closure. IJs and the BIA may now administratively close a case only when authorized by regulation or a judicially-approved settlement. Further, Sessions held that only DHS has the authority to decide whether and when to initiate proceedings, and once DHS initiates proceedings, IJs and the BIA must "expeditiously" resolve the case. Upon a motion by either party, IJs and the BIA must recalendar any case that was administratively closed, unless the closure was required by regulation or judicially-approved settlement.

    [ID #168]

    Matter of Castro Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (AG 2018)
  2. Effective Date

    May 17, 2018
  4. Biden Administration Action: Revoked/Replaced

    July 15, 2021

    2021.07.15 Matter of Cruz-Valdez

    This Biden administration policy revokes in its entirety the Trump-era policy identified in this entry.

    On July 15, 2021, Attorney General Garland decided Matter of Cruz-Valdez, which overruled Matter of Castro-Tum in its entirety and stipulated that, while rulemaking proceeds and provided that a court of appeals has not held otherwise, immigration judges and the Board should apply the administrative closure standards set forth in Matter of Avetisyan and Matter of W-Y-U.

    View Document
  5. Biden Administration Action: Other

    November 22, 2021

    2021.11.22 Provide guidance to adjudicators on administrative closure in light of Matter of Cruz-Valdez, 28 I&N Dec. 326 (A.G. 2021)

    On November 22, 2021, EOIR director David Neal issued a memorandum to EOIR adjudicators offering guidance on the use of administrative closure following Matter of Cruz-Valdez and in light of EOIR's significant caseloads. The memo notes that DHS is undertaking a rulemaking that "will address adjudicators’ authority to administratively close cases," but that, pending such a rule, IJs have authority to administratively close cases under Matter of Cruz-Valdez with the "potential caveat" of proceedings in the Sixth Circuit. Director Neal emphasizes that administrative closure is a case management tool, and that given EOIR's "finite resources," IJs should prioritize adjudicating "two categories of cases: those in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) deems the respondent to be an immigration enforcement priority, and those in which the respondent desires a full adjudication of his or her claim or claims."

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Current Status

Not in effect

Most Recent Action

November 22, 2021 Action: Other 2021.11.22 Provide guidance to adjudicators on administrative closure in light of Matter of Cruz-Valdez, 28 I&N Dec. 326 (A.G. 2021)
July 15, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration
November 22, 2021
Acted on by Biden Administration

Original Trump Policy Status

Status: Final/Actual
Trump Administration Action: Adjudication
Subject Matter: Hearings and Adjudications
Agencies Affected: EOIR AG USCIS ICE

Pre Trump-Era Policies

  • January 31, 2012

    Matter of Avetisyan gave immigration judges discretion to administratively close a case until the case is ripe for final adjudication. This included situations such as: the future availability of an immigrant visa; current eligibility for TPS, DACA, or DED; and anticipation of a criminal matter being resolved before another court. From October 2011 through September 2017, IJs closed more than 215,000 cases, which was about three-quarters of the number closed in a 31-year span before 2011, according to the Department of Justice. (Huffington Post article)

    Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012)


  • Jeff Sessions Uses Exceptional Power Over Immigration Courts To Limit Judges' Authority

    Go to article
  • AIC / ACLU: Administrative Closure Post-Castro-Tum

    Go to article

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