DHS recently announced an unprecedented new policy called the Migrant Protection Protocols ("MPP"). The MPP is currently only being implemented in Tijuana, but will imminently be expanded to other cities on the U.S.-Mexico border. As we brace ourselves for the expansion of this program, it is important to consider just how much of a blow it is to due process and human rights protections for refugees and asylum seekers.
In a decision issued today, Attorney General Sessions has upended over thirty years of precedent allowing immigration courts and the Board of Immigration Appeals to administratively close proceedings. Now, there administrative closure is no longer available, with very limited exceptions. "Administrative closure" allows immigration courts to suspend cases in their discretion, for reasons such as pending applications outside of the court, grants of Temporary Protected Status, and when the ICE agreed to close the case because it was not an enforcement priority. Some cases have been administratively closed only a few months, others for decades.