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U.S. Attorney General questions use of immigration law by judges

In 2017, the status of hundreds of thousands of people living in the United States, including many here in New Orleans, were put in jeopardy. Now, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has some questions for immigration judges. Over the last few years, those judges have used immigration law to administratively close hundreds of thousands of cases.

In an administrative closure, the judge simply refuses to make a decision, which allows the individuals involved to remain here in the United States, but without any legal status. The immigration courts have a significant backlog right now, and judges have used administrative closure to get numerous cases handled in recent years. Now, Sessions may throw a new "monkey wrench" into the works, as there is talk of reviewing all 350,000 of the administrative closures.

Sessions is asking questions such as whether the immigration judges involved even had the authority to make those decisions. He also wants to how what factors judges used to make those decisions. The authority to close cases in this manner may be taken away. Apparently, the case of one boy from Central America sparked Sessions to ask these questions, to which responses are required around the beginning of February.

Depending on what happens with this immigration law issue, many more hundreds of thousands of people could face deportation or some other actions by the federal government. This is a situation that many immigration law attorneys will more than likely be keeping their eyes on in the coming weeks. Those with concerns regarding this or any other immigration issue may benefit from gaining an understanding of their rights and legal options.

Source:, "Sessions to challenge immigration judges over closure of cases," Terry Carter, Jan. 5, 2018

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