14 Aug DHS will restart the removal proceedings for Administrative closed cases
By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano
Q. What is the current plan of DHS for court cases that are administratively closed because these are not enforcement priority?
A. The recently released internal communications at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reveal a plan to restart the deportation cases of hundreds of thousands of people whose cases are currently administratively closed. This initiative has the potential to swell the immigration court backlog (currently at 730,000 cases) to over one million cases.
Q. What are those administratively closed cases?
A. Administrative closure is a docket-management tool which allows immigration judges to temporarily take a case off of their docket. Immigration judges typically grant administrative closure to allow an immigrant to seek relief outside of immigration court or because ICE exercised prosecutorial discretion and decided not to move forward with a case. Once ICE or an immigrant in removal proceedings chooses to move forward with the case, they can ask the judge to “recalendar” the case by placing it back on the docket.
Q. What has changed during the Trump administration?
A. When Attorney General Jeff Sessions overturned decades of precedent in May 2018 by stripping immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals of their general authority to administratively close cases, he left ICE with the decision to recalendar over 355,000 cases currently administratively closed. The newly-released instructions to ICE prosecutors reveal that ICE intends to recalendar virtually all of those cases.
ICE prosecutors are instructed to prioritize recalendaring cases where the immigrant is detained, followed by all cases where the immigrant has a criminal record. Next, the agency will prioritize cases where ICE’s most recent motion to recalendar was denied, followed by those that administratively closed over ICE’s objections. Finally, it directs local offices to recalendar the remaining cases through a “case-by-case determination … considering available resources and the existing backlog in the local docket.”
Q. What is the overall effect of the new policy with regards to those administratively close cases?
A. If fully implemented, ICE’s new guidance would have a significant effect on the tens of thousands of people who had their cases administratively closed from 2012 to 2016. Most cases administratively closed had benefited from a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion after the Obama administration determined that they were not an enforcement priority. Now, with the elimination of immigration enforcement priorities under the current administration, ICE may haul them back to immigration court again.
Q. What should an immigrant whose case was Administratively closed case do?
A. Those with administratively closed case should immediately contact their attorney for proper handling of their cases.
Note: This is not a legal advice.
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If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.
Crispin Caday Lozano, Esq. is an active member of the State Bar of California, the American Immigration Lawyers Association and San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association. He specializes in immigration law and personal injury. For free consultation email or call (email@example.com / 1-877-456-9266)