When in Removal Proceedings, it is common for an attorney to request the judge to pause the action while an alternate form of relief is pursued with the USCIS. Under the previous Administration, Immigration Judges were permitted to perform what is known as Administrative Closure – effectively taking a case off the docket to allow the USCIS to render a decision. However, a judge’s ability to administratively close a case was greatly reduced after Matter of Castro-Tum. In a nutshell, judges can no longer administratively close cases in the vast majority of instances. The only exceptions involve cases covered by specific regulations or treaties.
So, what does this mean for the average person facing Removal Proceedings in U.S. Immigration Court? One typical option is to ask for a continuance. But an Immigration Judge’s ability to offer a continuance has also been reduced per the Matter of L-A-B-R- decision.
One could still file a motion to terminate proceedings, request a dismissal or await alternate relief (e.g. I-130 pursuant to marriage to a United States Citizen). As with all matters related to immigration to the United States, we are always waiting for the other shoe to drop.