The Court Administrator for the Immigration Court at 26 Federal Plaza circulated an e-mail on April 2, 2012, indicating that for the weeks of May 7th and May 14th certain immigration judges will be canceling court, so that trial attorneys for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) can review files for consideration of prosecutorial discretion. The ICE attorneys are reviewing files to see if they are suitable for administrative closure. Administrative closure is a procedure where an immigration judge puts a case on hold and does not schedule any more hearings until one of the parties requests the court to recalendar the case. ICE is doing this because there are too many people to deport, so they are trying to prioritize their cases. ICE is looking to administratively close cases for individuals without criminal history or serious immigration violations.
Administrative closure is not good for all cases. If someone is eligible for relief from deportation, like asylum or cancellation of removal, it would probably be better that they not accept administrative closure. If a case is administratively closed, it does not give that person status in the United States. It merely means that the person’s removal proceedings will be put on hold. If your case is administratively closed, you’re not entitled to employment authorization. Another downside to administrative closure is that the case can be recalendered at any time. Thus, if ICE changes its mind, the deportation will resume. On the plus side, for individuals in removal proceedings who are not eligible for any form of relief, administrative closure will save them from being ordered deported.