Gonzalez-Vega v. Lynch, No. 15-3281 (8th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Petitioner, a Mexican citizen, seeks review of the BIA's affirmance of the IJ's denial of his request for administrative closure of his immigration proceedings. DHS initiated removal proceedings in 2012, asserting that he was removable as an alien who was present in the country without being admitted or paroled. The IJ denied the request for administrative closure, emphasizing that petitioner's infant son would not turn 21 within a reasonable time to sponsor a visa petition on his behalf, and the lack of a pending visa application made the anticipated duration of closure indefinite. The court joined the other circuits that have held that circuit courts have jurisdiction to review denials of motions for administrative closure, assuming, of course, that other judicial prerequisites (like finality) are satisfied. After determining that it has jurisdiction, the court concluded that the IJ committed no clear error of judgment in weighing the In re Avetisyan considerations and did not abuse its discretion by being unmoved by petitioner's arguments in favor of administrative closure. Because it is unclear to the court whether the BIA heard and thought about petitioner's alternative request to exercise its independent authority to grant administrative closure, the court remanded the matter to the BIA to consider whether petitioner's requests warrants a favorable exercise of the BIA's discretion. Accordingly, the court affirmed in part and remanded in part.