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CHICAGO- Attorney General Jeff Sessions today reversed decades of U.S. immigration court precedent by eliminating “administrative closure,” a tool the federal government and immigration attorneys frequently use to relieve overloaded immigration court dockets by removing cases for individuals who have applications pending for some form of relief, or whose cases can be resolved by some other means. 

National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) Director of Litigation Chuck Roth offered the following response to the ruling:

“The Attorney General has one agenda with this unnecessary ruling – to reduce immigration judges to deportation machines. This move will inevitably slow the adjudication of people’s immigration claims in the severely backlogged court system, not speed them up. When people seeking immigration relief are facing a five-year wait to see a judge, it is ridiculous to force judges to hear cases for others who already have applications for legal relief pending before another branch of the government. Today’s ruling goes well beyond what either party in this case sought, and further reveals the Attorney General’s radical anti-immigrant colors.”

NIJC calls on Congress to take steps toward establishment of an independent Article I immigration court system. Until such a system is in place, we call on Congress to engage in robust oversight of the Department of Justice to reverse its unacceptable incursions on the court system’s integrity.