Attorney General Merrick Garland issued an opinion Thursday recognizing the ability of immigration judges to administratively close a removal proceeding, which effectively removes a deportation case from the docket without technically disposing of the case.
The opinion overturned a previous one from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions in a case known as the Matter of Castro-Tum, where Sessions held that there was no legal authority to administratively close such a case, as had previously been done. The Justice Department, in December 2020, issued a rule reflecting that position, but that was soon blocked on the grounds that it did not follow the rule-making process set by the Administrative Procedure Act.
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“Because Castro-Tum departed from long-standing practice, it is appr
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