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Motion To Terminate

Termination of Proceedings

Proceedings may only be terminated when there is a legal basis for doing so. A motion to terminate asks an Immigration Judge to end the proceedings by alleging that the government’s charges are substantively or procedurally defective. The Immigration Judge’s authority to terminate proceedings are limited by regulations 8 CFR § 1003.10(b) and 8 CFR § 1003.1(d)(1)(ii), which give Courts and the BIA the power to take “any action” that is “appropriate and necessary” to dispose of a case.

The Board defined the specifics of this in more detail in  in Matter of S-O-G- & F-D-B-. The AG later set the rule that controls now from Matter of S-O-G-. In Matter of S-O-G, the AG held that Immigration Judges, “have no inherent authority to terminate or dismiss removal proceedings” even if a case presents compelling circumstances, restricting Immigration Judge’s discretion to terminate. However, the decision also held that the IJ can terminate proceedings if it is expressly authorized by (1) 8 C.F.R. § 1239.2(f), where a respondent is eligible for naturalization, has a pending naturalization application, and has exceptionally appealing or humanitarian factors in their case, and (2) under 8 C.F.R. § 1239.2(c) where DHS moves to dismiss a notice to appear.

This decision, however, does not affect motions to terminate that are grounded in law. An Immigration Judge continues to maintain the authority to terminate for any nondiscretionary basis supported by the BIA or judicial decisions, for example lack of subject matter discretion, improperly served NTA, regulatory violations, or res judicata.

Termination is like dismissal in that is completely ends the removal proceedings. Any applications before the Court are no longer pending and nothing further must be done to pursue another immigration benefit through other means.

Termination can be with or without prejudice. If with prejudice then the respondent cannot be put into removal proceedings again for the same reasons in that first Notice to Appear.