BIA HOLDS THAT REMOVAL PROCEEDINGS MAY BE ADMINISTRATIVELY CLOSED OR DELAYED PENDING THE ADJUDICATION OF A DIRECT APPEAL OF A CRIMINAL CONVICTION.
On April 17, 2015, the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) addressed the case of a respondent in removal proceedings whose direct appeal of his federal criminal conviction was still pending when the Immigration Judge (IJ) held that it was an aggravated felony and, not-withstanding the pending appeal, the conviction was final for immigration purposes and ordered him removed. The parties then filed a joint motion for administrative closure, briefing the issue of whether a conviction is final for immigration purposes during the pendency of a direct appeal.
Citing to Matter of Avetisyan, 25 I & N Dec. 688 (BIA 2012), which set forth the applicable factors to be weighed in determining whether administrative closure is appropriate, the Board held that whether the pendency of a direct appeal warrants closure depends on the particular circumstances of each case. In the instant matter, the BIA found that administrative closure is warranted as a matter of administrative efficiency because, should the respondent prevail on appeal, he would no longer be subject to removal on that basis. Matter of Montiel, 26 I & N Dec. 555 (BIA 2015).
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