Law Offices of Stuart J. Reich, PLLC

Practice Limited to Immigration & Nationality Law

11 Broadway, Suite 615
New York, NY 10004

(212) 430-6582 phone
(212) 430-6583 facsimile

Sessions Announces Review of Administrative Closure Practices in Immigration Courts

The administration, by and through Attorney General Jeff Sessions, announced an investigation on the practice of “administrative closure” in immigration courts.

“Administrative closure” essentially places a hold on a pending deportation/removal case so that a foreign national with the availability of some form of immigration benefit can process through USCIS to determine eligibility. An administratively closed case is not dismissed nor does the governments charge of removability simply go away; the case is simply taken off the judicial calendar until such time as a party (the foreign national in the event a benefit is approved by USCIS which would allow the judge to adjust their status, or the government in the event USCIS denies the request for a benefit and they wish to further pursue removal or deportation) makes a motion to place the case back on the court’s calendar for further action.

The foreign national remains in a form of legal limbo until such time as the case is reopened – sometimes a positive thing where the alternative is removal.

Immigration judges are employees of the Executive Office for Immigration Review (“EOIR”). The EOIR is a subsection of the US Justice Department, a section of the executive branch of the US government – not a part of the federal judiciary branch. The Attorney General, as head of the Justice Department, therefore has broad oversight authority over the immigration courts.

While we typically don’t cover immigration court-related activity, this does have broad application for individuals seeking many types of benefits – and those who have received many of the types of immigration benefits we do handle but run afoul of the law in some way and find themselves in proceedings.