The Attorney General has imposed narrow standards on when an Immigration Judge may continue proceedings. An immigration judge may grant a motion for a continuance of removal proceedings only "for good cause shown." When a respondent requests a continuance to pursue collateral relief, the immigration judge must consider primarily the likelihood that the collateral relief will be granted and will materially affect the outcome of the removal proceedings. The immigration judge should also consider relevant secondary factors, which may include the respondent’s diligence in seeking collateral relief, DHS’s position on the motion for continuance, concerns of administrative efficiency, the length of the continuance requested, the number of hearings held and continuances granted previously, and the timing of the continuance motion.
The Attorney General did emphasize that immigration judges need not treat as controlling DHS’s consent to, opposition to, or failure to take a position on a motion for continuance.
To assess the speculativeness of a respondent’s collateral matter, an immigration judge will generally need an evidentiary submission by the respondent, which should include copies of relevant submissions in the collateral proceeding, supporting affidavits, and the like. Absent such evidence, the respondent generally will not carry his burden of showing that a collateral matter is actually likely to bear on the outcome of the removal proceedings.
The immigration judge should also state his reasons for granting a continuance on the record or in a written decision. A record of the immigration judge’s evaluation and balancing of the relevant good-cause factors does not bind the Board, of course, but it does aid the Board’s review of a continuance order. The absence of any reasoned explanation for the grant of a continuance may, were the Board to entertain an interlocutory appeal, leave Cite the Board no choice but to vacate the order granting the continuance if evidence supporting good cause is not clear from the record.
The Attorney General also directed the Board of Immigration Appeals to entertain interlocutory appeals of decisions regarding continuances.
The full text of Matter of L-A-B-R-can be found here: