The Attorney General has certified Matter of Castro-Tum, an unpublished case dealing with the docket control mechanism known as administrative closure, to himself for review. He also invited amicus briefs addressing the following questions:
1. Do Immigration Judges and the Board have the authority, under any statute, regulation, or delegation of authority from the Attorney General, to order administrative closure in a case? If so, do the Board’s decisions in Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012), and Matter of W-Y-U-, 27 I&N Dec. 17 (BIA 2017), articulate the appropriate standard for administrative closure?
2. If I determine that Immigration Judges and the Board currently lack the authority to order administrative closure, should I delegate such authority? Alternatively, if I determine that Immigration Judges and the Board currently possess the authority to order administrative closure, should I withdraw that authority?
3. The regulations governing removal proceedings were promulgated for “the expeditious, fair, and proper resolution of matters coming before Immigration Judges.” 8 C.F.R. § 1003.12 (2017). Are there any circumstances where a docket management device other than administrative closure—including a continuance for good cause shown (8 C.F.R. § 1003.29 (2017)), dismissal without prejudice (8 C.F.R. § 1239.2(c) (2017)), or termination without prejudice (8 C.F.R. § 1239.2(f))—would be inadequate to promote that objective? Should there be different legal consequences, such as eligibility to apply for a provisional waiver of certain grounds of inadmissibility under the immigration laws or for benefits under federal or state programs, where a case has been administratively closed rather than continued?
4. If I determine that Immigration Judges and the Board do not have the authority to order administrative closure, and that such a power is unwarranted or unavailable, what actions should be taken regarding cases that are already administratively closed?
The full text of Matter of Castro Tum can be found here: