EOIR sealU.S. Department of Justice
Executive Office for Immigration Review

Office of the Director
5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2400
Falls Church, Virginia 22041

NEWS RELEASE Contact: Public Affairs, (703) 305-0289 Fax: (703) 605-0365

Internet: www.usdoj.gov/eoir

May 3, 1999

EOIR Begins Special Procedures to Comply with Annual Cap

on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal

Decisions Will Be Reserved in Cases Completed After May 3

The Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has estimated that, as of April 30, 1999, approximately 3,800 applications for suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal (suspension/cancellation) have been granted in immigration proceedings in the current fiscal year. Immigration law limits such grants to no more than 4,000 per fiscal year. Effective immediately, therefore, applications for suspension/cancellation adjudicated by the Immigration Court or the Board of Immigration Appeals (the Board) will be handled according to procedures adopted in the interim rule published in the Federal Register September 30, 1998, so that the annual cap of 4,000 grants will not be exceeded.

[Suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal is a relief from forced removal that may be granted under discretionary authority to aliens of good moral character who meet certain statutory requirements of long-term presence in the United States and who can show that they or a spouse, child, or parent would suffer hardship if they were removed.]

The new procedures that go into effect on May 3 require Immigration Judges and the Board to reserve their decisions on all applications for suspension/cancellation that are subject to the annual cap, unless they can deny them on statutory grounds other than hardship. Then EOIR will assign the remaining numbers available in fiscal year 1999 by issuing final grants on a case-by-case, "first-in-time" basis in the order they are adjudicated.

Each grant of suspension/cancellation will be counted against the cap for the fiscal year until the maximum of 4,000 is reached. Any remaining reserved decisions will be deferred until the next fiscal year, which begins October 1, 1999.

The interim rule establishing these procedures was published in the Federal Register on September 30, 1998, amending Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations (8 CFR) with a new section 240.21.