Today, the BIA published a decision in Matter of Avetisyan that fundamentally changes the power dynamic regarding requests to close a case. Until today, a person has always needed the agreement of DHS to have their case administratively closed. Matter of Gutierrez, 21 I&N Dec. 479 (BIA 1996). When President Obama announced the push to use prosecutorial discretion to close non-priority cases, he said the Department of Justice was going to have a hand in which cases get closed. But since Guttierrez gave absolute veto power to the DHS, something had to give. The new rule is that the IJ or the BIA can administratively close a case whenever doing so makes sense, without needing the permission of the DHS first.
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