Around June 2018, we wrote about the case of Castro-Tum, where it was held that Immigration Judge’s (IJ’s) and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) do not have the general authority to suspend indefinitely immigration proceedings by administratively closing a case.
Therefore, administrative closure is not something that is generally available in court as of now. However, there is something that is similar to this practice or idea, which is called being placed on a status docket. See our article on status dockets to learn more about how they are managed in immigration courts.
Administrative closure “is available in court and it is used to temporarily remove a case from an Immigration Judge’s active calendar or from the Board’s docket.”
In general, an administrative closure may be appropriate to await an action or event that is relevant to immigration proceedings but is outside the control of the parties or the court and may not occur for a significant or undetermined period of time. For example, if a petition is awaiting adjudication by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Administrative closure does not provide the noncitizen with any kind of permanent or temporary status. It simply removes the case from the active calendar, which temporarily pauses the case until either party asks for the case to be “re-calendared.”
Some of the cases that some say can expect to get re-calendared are:
- Individuals who are currently arrested;
- Individuals who have been arrested sometime after their immigration case was administratively closed;
- Cases where a motion to re-calendar was most recently denied.
Therefore, now that we know that cases are being re-calendared, which some have estimated is over 300,000 cases, it is important that each person contacts their attorney or ensures that all is correct in court to avoid an order of deportation in absentia, or in absence.
Here are some tips of what you can do to prevent from being removed in absence because of failure to attend a scheduled hearing:
- Occasionally check the Court’s case status number. That number is available for users 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: 1-800-898-7180. It is an automated system; where you punch in your A# and can get a case status.
- Make sure to update the Immigration Court or the BIA within 5 days of any address move. If you do not update the Court or the BIA with your new address, and a hearing notice is sent to an old address, you will be ordered removed in absentia (without being present in Court). In absentia removal orders have even harsher consequences than standard removal orders and are very difficult to reverse.
- The most important thing you can do is consult with an immigration attorney to determine what your options would be if your case is re-calendared and whether you can take any actions now.
If you’re interested in speaking with an attorney about your legal status and options that may be available to you, call to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys at (713) 589-2085.