Attorney General Garland issued a decision in Matter of Cruz-Valdez on July 15, 2021, overruling the 2018 attorney general decision Matter of Castro-Tum and thereby restoring the authority of immigration judges, or IJs, and the Board of Immigration Appeals, or BIA, to administratively close cases nationwide. Administrative closure is a docket management tool that IJs and the BIA have used for decades to temporarily pause immigration court cases, often to await some out-of-court event such as the adjudication by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, or USCIS, of an immigration application or to facilitate the Department of Homeland Security’s exercise of prosecutorial discretion.
Prior to today's decision, several appellate courts had already rejected Castro-Tum and restored administrative closure in their respective jurisdictions. But with today’s decision, administrative closure is again available in immigration courts nationwide. Among other things, today’s decision enables noncitizens in removal proceedings who intend to pursue consular processing to seek administrative closure while they apply for an I-601A provisional unlawful presence waiver with USCIS.
This will help so many of our clients be able to continue stay with their families while their applications are decided. This is incredible news.