U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has barred immigration judges from a shelving deportation cases, a common practice used by illegal immigrants.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a directive on Thursday that places limits on a tool commonly used by immigration judges and could put hundreds of thousands of deportation cases that are essentially closed back on federal court dockets.
The move, issued in an interim decision, is unlikely to reopen all the cases. But Mr. Sessions said that immigration courts could not put such cases on indefinite hold by using a practice known as administrative closure, which temporarily removes a case from a judge’s calendar and delays a proceeding that could remove an immigrant from the country.
Immigration judges “do not have the general authority to suspend indefinitely immigration proceedings by administrative closure,” he wrote in the decision, and the practice “effectively resulted in illegal aliens remaining indefinitely in the United States without any formal legal status.”
This practice was used in 200,000 cases during President Obama's reign. According to reports, the practice is "administrative closure, allowed judges to clear low-priority cases off their dockets, effectively letting some immigrants remain indefinitely in the United States despite their lack of legal status."