Articles on Matter of Castro-Tum and Administrative Closure in Immigration Proceedings



On May 17, 2018, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued an important immigration precedent decision in Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018) [PDF version]. In the decision, the Attorney General concluded that immigration judges and the Board of Immigration Appeals lack general administrative closure authority, and may only grant administrative closure in the limited circumstances explicitly outlined in the Attorney General regulations or required by court-ordered settlement agreement. For the large number of cases that were administratively closed without authorization, the Attorney General provided that they shall be recalendared upon motion by either party.

This article will serve as an index for our articles on Matter of Castro-Tum and related decisions and issues. We will update this index with new articles on the issues as we publish them.

Articles on Matter of Castro-Tum

Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 187 (A.G. 2018) [see article]
This article covers the Attorney General's decision to refer Matter of Castro-Tum to himself for review. It outlines the list of issues raised that he eventually resolved in his May 2018 decision.

Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018) [see part one].
This article covers the first half of the Attorney General's decision in Matter of Castro-Tum. The introduction addresses each point of the Attorney General's conclusions. The rest of the article is devoted to the factual and procedural history of the case and the historical background of administrative closure in immigration proceedings. Interested readers should consult this article before reading our second and third articles on the decision.

Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018) [see part two].
This article picks up where part one left off, addressing the Attorney General's analysis of the relevant statutes, regulations, administrative documents, and judicial decisions relating to administrative closure in immigration proceedings. We explain why the Attorney General concluded that immigration judges and the BIA lack general administrative closure authority.

Matter of Castro-Tum, 27 I&N Dec. 271 (A.G. 2018) [see part three].
This is our third and final article on the May 2018 Matter of Castro-Tum decision. This article examines why the Attorney General declined to delegate general administrative closure authority to immigration judges and the BIA. Significantly, it also analyzes the Attorney General's decision regarding the disposition of cases that were administratively closed without authority.

Subsequent Decisions

Matter of S-O-G- & F-D-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 462 (A.G. 2018) [see article]
Attorney General Sessions followed Matter of Castro-Tum with his decision in Matter of S-O-G- & F-D-B-. He reiterated his holding that “immigration judges have no inherent authority to terminate or dismiss removal proceedings.” In this decision, he made clear that immigration judges may only dismiss or terminate proceedings under circumstances that are specifically provided for in the regulations. Again recalling Matter of Castro-Tum, he held that 8 C.F.R. 1240.1(a)(1)(iv) does not provide any additional authority to immigration judges to terminate or dismiss removal proceedings. Finally, the Attorney General directed immigration judges and the Board to recognize and maintain the distinction between a dismissal of removal proceedings (8 C.F.R. 1239.2(c)) and a termination of removal proceedings (8 C.F.R. 1239.2(c)).

Articles on Related Decisions

Matter of W-Y-U-, 27 I&N Dec. 17 (BIA 2017) [see article]; and Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I&N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012) [see section]
In Matter of Avetisyan and Matter of W-Y-U-, the BIA had dramatically increased the authority of immigration judges to order administrative closure by crafting rules for adjudicating the issue when one party objected to administrative closure. The Attorney General in Matter of Castro-Tum overruled both decisions in large part. The first link provided is to our article on Matter of W-Y-U-, while the second link provided is to the section of that article that examined Matter of Arvetisyan most in-depth. Please see our comment at the top of the article for the recognition that both decisions have been overruled to the extent which they are inconsistent with the May 2018 Matter of Castro-Tum decision.

Baez-Sanchez v. Sessions, 872 U.S. F.3d 854, 855 (7th Cir. 2017) [see article]
In the May 2018 Matter of Castro-Tum decision, the Attorney General expressed his disagreement with the Seventh Circuit's analysis of 8 C.F.R. 1003.10(b) in Baez-Sanchez. You may read that section of our article on Matter of Castro-Tum here [see section]. This disagreement is potentially noteworthy in light of the fact that in Baez-Sanchez, the Seventh Circuit declined to follow a BIA precedent decision on a separate issue in the Matter of Khan, 26 I&N Dec. 797 (BIA 2016) [see article].

Matter of E-F-H-L-, 27 I&N Dec. 226 (A.G. 2018) [see article]
Although this decision was not directly referenced in Matter of Castro-Tum, it bears noting. In Matter of E-F-H-L-, Attorney General Sessions vacated a BIA order remanding a case for an individual to apply for asylum where the individual subsequently withdrew his application for asylum to allow for the adjudication of a Form I-130. In that case, the immigration judge had ordered administrative closure to allow for the adjudication of the Form I-130. The Attorney General ordered the case recalendared and restored to the docket of the immigration court. Matter of E-F-H-L- came in between the Attorney General's referral of Matter of Castro-Tum and his ultimate decision in May 2018.

Matter of Roussis, 18 I&N Dec. 256 (BIA 1982) [see article]
In this 1982 decision, the BIA held that an immigration judge cannot cede his or her sole jurisdiction over adjustment of status applications filed in deportation proceedings. The immigration judge in her case had remanded to the then-Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) District Director for consideration of the respondent's adjustment of status application. The BIA held that this decision contravened the applicable regulations and impinged on the prosecutorial discretion of then-INS. The decision gained renewed relevance when Attorney General Sessions cited to it favorably in Matter of Castro-Tum and Matter of S-O-G- & F-D-B. It also appeared in the 2017 BIA decision in Matter of J-A-B- & I-J-V-A.

Matter of J-A-B- & I-J-V-A-, 27 I&N Dec. 168 (BIA 2017) [see article]
Although this decision came prior to Matter of Castro-Tum, it is worth noting due to its relevancy to the main issues. In the decision, the Board held that an immigration judge cannot terminate removal proceedings to allow an alien to apply for asylum with the DHS in the first instance. It reasoned that doing so impinges on the prosecutorial discretion of the DHS.

BIA/AG Index

Comprehensive List of Articles on Attorney General and BIA Precedent Decisions [see section]
Our BIA/AG index has been updated to include all of the decisions referenced in this article having to do with administrative closure and recalendaring.