Earlier this week, the BIA published its decision in Matter of Avetisyan, changing the way IJs are supposed to handle requests for administrative closure. The major news was that the BIA was departing from its prior rule that administrative closure was only appropriate when both parties agreed.  Thus, under the new rule, the IJ can administratively close whether the DHS opposes the request or not.

But aside from not requiring DHS’s agreement to these motions, the rest of the decision has gotten little coverage.  The BIA had never provided a standard for the adjudication of motions to administratively close (because, if both parties agreed, these motions were usually granted as a matter of course).  Under Avetisyan the adjudicator should consider:

(1) the stated position of both parties in requesting or opposing administrative closure;
(3) the likelihood the respondent will succeed on any petition, application, or other action he or she is pursuing outside of removal proceedings;
(4) the anticipated duration of the closure;
(5) the responsibility of either party, if any, in contributing to any current or anticipated delay; and
(6) the ultimate outcome of removal proceedings (for example, termination of the proceedings or entry of a removal order) when the case is recalendared before the Immigration Judge or the appeal is reinstated before the Board.

These factors are straight-forward, but deserve discussion.  For example, the parties will be hard pressed to show what “the ultimate outcome of removal proceedings” will be when the case is recalendared.  It will be interesting to see how IJs apply these factors and whether we will see more written decisions responding to admin closure requests.