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 27 I. & N. Dec. 271; 2018 BIA LEXIS 15

Department of Justice, Board of Immigration Appeals

May 17, 2018, Decided by Attorney General





On January 4, 2018, I directed the Board of Immigration Appeals ("Board") to refer for my review its decision in this matter, see 8 C.F.R. § 1003.1(h)(1)(i), and I invited the parties and any interested amici to submit briefs addressing questions relevant to that certification. Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 187 (A.G. 2018).

For the reasons set forth in the accompanying opinion, I affirm the Board's order and remand for further proceedings. I hold that immigration judges and the Board do not have the general authority to suspend indefinitely immigration proceedings by administrative closure. Accordingly, immigration judges and the Board may only administratively close a case where a previous regulation or a previous judicially approved settlement expressly authorizes such an action. Where a case has been administratively closed without such authority, the immigration judge or the Board, as appropriate, shall recalendar the case on the motion of either party. I overrule Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012), Matter of W-Y-U-, 27 I&N Dec. 17 (BIA 2017), and any other Board precedent,  [**2]  to the extent those decisions are inconsistent with this opinion.

Matter of Castro-Tum

In recent years, immigration judges and the Board have increasingly ordered administrative closure to remove a large number of cases from their dockets. The Board has described the practice as "a docket management tool that is used to temporarily pause removal proceedings," Matter of W-Y-U-, 27 I&N Dec. 17, 18 (BIA 2017), and "remove a case from an Immigration Judge's active calendar or from the Board's docket." Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688, 692 (BIA 2012).

Although described as a temporary suspension, administrative closure is effectively permanent in most instances. Unless a party "move[s] to recalendar [an administratively closed case] before the Immigration Court . . . or to reinstate the appeal before the Board," id., the case remains indefinitely  [*272]  suspended without a final resolution. Statistics supplied by the Executive Office for Immigration Review ("EOIR") demonstrate that effect.

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 27 I. & N. Dec. 271 *;  2018 BIA LEXIS 15 **

Matter of Castro-Tum, Respondent

Prior History:

In re Castro-Tum, 2018 BIA LEXIS 1, 27 I. & N. Dec. 187 (B.I.A., Jan. 4, 2018)


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