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What is Administrative Closure and Why Can it Be Beneficial?

Stop sign saying hold

In immigration proceedings, there is a procedure called "Administrative Closure," where a case proceeding is basically "put on hold" for a specific period of time or indefinitely. The proceedings are still "alive" in a legal sense, but the government officials and the immigration courts are not "paying attention" to the case. The case remains in "inactive status" and can remain in that status for years. The main purpose of the revived rule is to help the immigration services better manage the legal caseload. Essentially, cases that are "low-priority" for the immigration services can be "paused," which frees up staffing and other resources for the government to pursue higher-priority cases.

Administrative closure is something that can be requested by the immigration services or by the private immigration attorney representing the immigrant. Administrative closure is more likely to happen in these types of circumstances:

  • Where a respondent is not an immigration enforcement priority and the respondent does not object
  • Where the respondent requests administrative closure and the immigration services, do not object
  • Where it is reasonable to allow a respondent time to file an application or petition with another agency if there is a likelihood the respondent will succeed on such application or petition
  • Where it is useful to wait while an agency adjudicates a previously filed application or petition
  • Where a visa petition has been approved, but time is needed for the visa to become available
  • Where a respondent has been granted temporary protected status
  • And in other circumstances

It is important to note that even if the above factors are present, immigration judges must determine that administrative closure is legally appropriate. In Matter of Avetsiyan, the Board of Immigration Appeals found:

In determining whether administrative closure of proceedings is appropriate, an Immigration Judge or the Board should weigh all relevant factors, including but not limited to: (1) the reason administrative closure is sought; (2) the basis for any opposition to administrative closure; (3) the likelihood the respondent will succeed on any petition, application, or other action he or she is pursuing outside of removal proceedings; (4) the anticipated duration of the closure; (5) the responsibility of either party, if any, in contributing to any current or anticipated delay; and (6) the ultimate outcome of removal proceedings (for example, termination of the proceedings or entry of a removal order) when the case is recalendared before the Immigration Judge or the appeal is reinstated before the Board.

Generally, administrative closure requires the agreement of the immigration court to administratively close the case. But, immigration courts generally t agree to administrative closure in the circumstances described above. That being said, ultimately, the immigration judges have the "final say." That is, an immigrant has no "right" to administrative closure, and such is not mandated in any given circumstance, even if the government and the immigrant respondent are in agreement. Immigration judges and appellate immigration judges are required to exercise their independent judgment and discretion in adjudicating motions for administrative closure consistent with the law.

As noted, if a proceeding is placed on administrative closure, the proceedings are paused, and no further action is taken. If the proceedings are deportation-related, this means that the deportation is ended -- paused. The immigrant can remain without needing to go to court and without fear of deportation. Note that the administrative closure can be revoked and the case put back on "active" status. But, in the meantime, the immigrant is eligible to receive ancillary benefits such as employment authorization and can file immigration forms and petitions to seek such benefits.

EAD (Work Authorization) and Administrative Closure

When a case is administratively closed, the person will still have a right to renew their work authorization just as if the case is active. This is the main reason why people prefer administrative closure.

Contact Yekrangi & Associates Today

For more information, contact the Orange County Immigration Attorneys at Yekrangi & Associates today. You are not alone, and we will fight for you. Yekrangi & Associates works to meet a higher standard. Our first goal is your satisfaction. Contact us at (949) 478-4963 to schedule a consultation or complete our convenient “Get Your Consultation” form here. We are located in Irvine, California.


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