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  • News: DOJ States Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal

    [Federal Register Volume 82, Number 232 (Tuesday, December 5, 2017)]
    [Rules and Regulations]
    [Pages 57336-57340]
    From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
    [FR Doc No: 2017-26104]


    =======================================================================
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

    Executive Office for Immigration Review

    8 CFR Part 1240

    [EOIR Docket No. 180; AG Order No. 4034-2017]
    RIN 1125-AA25


    Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on
    Suspension of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal

    AGENCY: Executive Office for Immigration Review, Department of Justice.

    ACTION: Final rule.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    SUMMARY: The Department of Justice is amending the Executive Office for
    Immigration Review (``EOIR'') regulations governing the annual
    limitation on cancellation of removal and suspension of deportation
    decisions. The amendment eliminates certain procedures created in 1998
    that were used to convert 8,000 conditional grants of suspension of
    deportation and cancellation of removal to outright grants before the
    end of fiscal year 1998. In addition, it authorizes immigration judges
    and the Board of Immigration Appeals (``Board'') to issue final
    decisions denying applications, without restriction, regardless of
    whether the annual limitation has been reached.

    DATES: This rule is effective January 4, 2018.

    FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jean King, General Counsel, Executive
    Office for Immigration Review, 5107 Leesburg Pike, Suite 2600, Falls
    Church, VA 22041, telephone (703) 305-0470 (not a toll-free call).

    SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

    I. Public Participation

    On November 30, 2016, the Department published in the Federal
    Register a rule proposing to amend EOIR's regulations relating to the
    annual limitation on cancellation of removal and suspension of
    deportation. 81 FR 86291 (Nov. 30, 2016). The comment period ended on
    January 30, 2017. The Department received four comments. For the
    reasons set forth below, the proposed rule is adopted without change.

    II. Background and Summary

    The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of
    1996 (``IIRIRA''), Public Law 104-208, Div. C, 110 Stat. 3009-546,
    added section 240A(e) to the Immigration and Nationality Act (``INA''
    or the ``Act''), Public Law 82-414, 66 Stat. 163 (1952) (codified as
    amended in scattered sections of 8, 18, and 22 U.S.C.), by establishing
    an annual limitation on the number of aliens who may be granted
    suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal followed by
    adjustment of status. The annual limitation is as follows:

    [T]he Attorney General may not cancel the removal and adjust the
    status under this section, nor suspend the deportation and adjust
    the status under section 244(a) (as in effect before the enactment
    of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act
    of 1996), of a total of more than 4,000 aliens in any fiscal year.

    INA sec. 240A(e)(1) (8 U.S.C. 1229b(e)(1)).
    On October 3, 1997, the Department issued an interim rule, which
    authorized immigration judges and the Board to grant applications for
    suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal only on a
    ``conditional basis.'' 62 FR 51760, 51762 (Oct. 3, 1997). This interim
    rule was a temporary measure to give the Department time to decide how
    best to implement the annual statutory limitation. Pursuant to the
    rule, the Chief Immigration Judge instructed immigration judges to
    convert previously reserved grants of suspension and cancellation to
    conditional grants.
    On November 19, 1997, Congress enacted the Nicaraguan Adjustment
    and Central American Relief Act (``NACARA''), Public Law 105-100, title
    II, 111 Stat. 2160, 2193-2201, which amended section 240A(e) of the
    Act. NACARA reaffirmed the annual limitation of 4,000 grants but
    exempted from the limitation certain nationals of Guatemala, El
    Salvador, and the former Soviet bloc countries. See NACARA sec. 204,
    111 Stat. at 2200-01. NACARA provided for an additional 4,000
    suspension/cancellation grants to increase the annual limitation to a
    total of 8,000 for fiscal year 1998 only. Id.
    On September 30, 1998, the Department issued the current interim
    rule, which eliminated the ``conditional grant'' process established in
    the October 1997 interim rule and provided new procedures for
    immigration judges and the Board to follow with respect to implementing
    the numerical limitation on suspension and cancellation of removal
    imposed by IIRIRA and NACARA, 63 FR 52134 (Sept. 30, 1998) (codified at
    8 CFR 1240.21 (as in effect prior to publication of this rule)).
    First, the interim rule created a process to address a discrete
    issue that required resolution before the end of fiscal year 1998: The
    interaction between the October 1997 interim rule authorizing
    immigration judges and the Board to grant applications for suspension
    and cancellation on a ``conditional basis,'' see 62 FR 51760, 51762
    (Oct. 3, 1997), and the enactment of NACARA in November 1997, which
    added 4,000 grants to the statutory annual limitation, creating a total
    of 8,000 available grants for fiscal year 1998, see NACARA sec. 202,
    111 Stat. at 2193-96. These procedures were set forth in 8 CFR
    1240.21(b) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule). See 63 FR
    at 52138-39.
    Second, the interim rule created a new procedure for processing
    applications for suspension and cancellation in order to avoid
    exceeding the annual limitation. See 63 FR at 52139-40 (codified at 8
    CFR 1240.21(c) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule)). The
    rule eliminated the conditional grant process. Id. at 52138 (codified
    at 8 CFR 1240.21(a)(2)). Instead, under the interim rule, immigration
    judges and the Board issued grants of suspension or cancellation in
    chronological order until grants were no longer available in a fiscal
    year. The interim rule provided that when grants were no longer
    available in a fiscal year, ``further decisions to grant or deny such
    relief shall be reserved'' until grants become available in a future
    fiscal year. Id. at 52140 (codified at 8 CFR 1240.21(c)(1) (as in
    effect prior to publication of this rule)). With respect to denials,
    the interim rule stated that immigration judges and the Board ``may
    deny without reserving decision or may

    [[Page 57337]]

    pretermit those suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal
    applications in which the applicant has failed to establish statutory
    eligibility for relief.'' Id. However, the interim rule prohibited
    immigration judges and the Board from basing such denials ``on an
    unfavorable exercise of discretion, a finding of no good moral
    character on a ground not specifically noted in section 101(f) of the
    [INA], a failure to establish exceptional or extremely unusual hardship
    to a qualifying relative in cancellation cases, or a failure to
    establish extreme hardship to the applicant and/or qualifying relative
    in suspension cases.'' Id.
    For the reasons discussed in the preamble to the proposed rule
    ``Procedures Further Implementing the Annual Limitation on Suspension
    of Deportation and Cancellation of Removal,'' see 81 FR 86291 (Nov. 30,
    2016), on November 30, 2016, the Department proposed to amend the 1998
    interim rule codified at 8 CFR 1240.21 (as in effect prior to
    publication of this rule). The comment period ended on January 30,
    2017. The Department received four comments. For the reasons discussed
    below, the Department will adopt the proposed amendments to 8 CFR
    1240.21 as final without change.
    The final rule makes three amendments to the current interim
    regulation. First, the final rule eliminates the text of 8 CFR
    1240.21(b) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule), which, as
    discussed above, established a procedure to convert 8,000 conditional
    grants of suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal to
    outright grants before the end of fiscal year 1998 and to convert some
    conditional grants to grants of adjustment of status under NACARA. The
    need for such procedures ceased to exist after fiscal year 1998.
    Second, the final rule amends the interim rule to allow immigration
    judges and the Board to issue final decisions denying cancellation and
    suspension applications, without restriction, regardless of whether the
    annual limitation has been reached. Under the final rule, after the
    annual limitation has been reached, only grants would be required to be
    reserved. The final rule will apply prospectively and will have no
    effect on decisions that were reserved prior to the final rule's
    effective date. Lastly, the final rule makes a technical amendment to 8
    CFR 1240.21(c).

    III. Comments and Responses

    As noted above, the Department received four comments in response
    to the proposed rule. One comment was from the American Immigration
    Lawyers Association; one was from an attorney with a private law firm,
    and two were from individual commenters. The comments are addressed by
    topic because some commenters raised multiple subjects and some
    comments overlapped.
    None of the commenters expressed concern with the final rule's
    elimination of certain procedures created in 1998 to convert 8,000
    conditional grants of suspension and cancellation to outright grants
    before the end of fiscal year 1998. Additionally, none of the
    commenters expressed concern with the final rule's technical amendment
    to 8 CFR 1240.21(c).
    Rather, the commenters focused on the rule's provision authorizing
    immigration judges and the Board to issue final decisions denying
    cancellation and suspension applications, without restriction,
    regardless of whether the annual limitation has been reached. There is
    nothing in the statutory language suggesting that decisions denying
    eligibility need to be delayed; the statutory provision only calls for
    delaying decisions to grant such relief when necessary because the
    statutory cap has been reached in a particular year. As explained in
    the preamble to the proposed rule, the purpose of this amendment is to:
    ``decrease the high volume of reserved decisions that result when the
    annual limitation is reached early in the fiscal year; reduce the
    associated delays caused by postponing the resolution of pending cases
    before EOIR; and provide an applicant with knowledge of a decision in
    the applicant's case on or around the date of the hearing held on the
    applicant's suspension or cancellation application.'' 81 FR 86291.
    Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the rule will
    unfairly disadvantage applicants because it ``freezes the record in
    place for purposes of a decision denying cancellation or suspension but
    leaves it open for a potentially positive reserved decision.'' For
    example, the commenter hypothesized that under the interim rule an
    immigration judge is required to reserve decision on a cancellation
    application, which might otherwise be denied for failure of the
    applicant to meet the statutory requirement that the applicant must
    demonstrate that the applicant's removal would result in exceptional
    and extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative. The commenter
    states that if the immigration judge had reserved the decision and the
    applicant's qualifying relative develops serious health-problems while
    the reserved denial is still pending, the applicant could present this
    new information and potentially obtain cancellation of removal. On the
    other hand, under the final rule, an immigration judge would be
    required to reserve a decision on an application which would otherwise
    be granted (but for the annual statutory limitation) if the applicant
    demonstrated that the applicant's removal would result in exceptional
    and extremely unusual hardship to a qualifying relative such as the
    applicant's United States citizen child who is in poor health. If the
    applicant's qualifying child dies or ``ages-out'' and no longer
    qualifies as a ``qualifying relative'' while the decision is reserved,
    the applicant may lose eligibility for cancellation of removal. In
    light of these concerns, the commenter urges EOIR to keep the interim
    rule in place.
    Response: The Department declines to change the final rule in light
    of this comment. As an initial matter, the Department notes that the
    final rule is consistent with section 240A(e)(1) of the INA, which
    limits the number of aliens who may be granted suspension of
    deportation or cancellation of removal to 4,000 aliens in any fiscal
    year. The Department has determined that the statute does not prohibit
    the issuance of denials of suspension or cancellation applications once
    the annual limitation has been reached, but it does require immigration
    judges and the Board to reserve applications that are to be granted
    until numbers become available in a subsequent fiscal year.
    Moreover, the possibility that an applicant's qualifying relative
    may ``age-out'' or die while a decision is reserved exists under the
    current interim regulations. This final regulation therefore does not
    create a greater likelihood that an applicant may lose eligibility due
    to a qualifying relative ``aging out'' or dying while a decision is
    reserved.
    The Department also notes that an applicant may file a motion to
    reopen if the applicant's qualifying relative experiences a change in
    circumstances that may qualify the applicant to receive cancellation of
    removal after the applicant's application was denied. The same
    commenter suggests that an applicant may be unable to file a motion to
    reopen if the applicant has been removed from the United States. EOIR
    notes, however, that most federal courts of appeal have held that the
    physical removal of an alien from the United States before a timely
    motion to reopen is filed does not preclude the alien from pursuing a
    motion to reopen, notwithstanding the current regulatory

    [[Page 57338]]

    departure bar set forth at 8 CFR 1003.2(d) and 1003.23(b)(1).\1\
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ See e.g. Jian Le Lin v. U.S. Atty. Gen., 681 F.3d 1236, 1240
    (11th Cir. 2012) (stating that ``Congress intended to ensure aliens
    the right to file one motion to reopen regardless of their
    geographical location''); Contreras-Bocanegra v. Holder, 678 F.3d
    811, 818 (10th Cir. 2012) (en banc) (same); Prestol Espinal v. Att'y
    Gen., 653 F.3d 213, 218 (3d Cir. 2011) (same); Reyes-Torres v.
    Holder, 645 F.3d 1073, 1077 (9th Cir. 2011) (stating that ``the
    physical removal of a petitioner by the United States does not
    preclude the petitioner from pursuing a motion to reopen''
    (quotation marks omitted)); Luna v. Holder, 637 F.3d 85, 102 (2d
    Cir. 2011) (stating that ``the BIA must exercise its full
    jurisdiction to adjudicate a statutory [i.e. timely and not number
    barred] motion to reopen by an alien who is removed or otherwise
    departs the United States before or after filing the motion'');
    William v. Gonzales, 499 F.3d 329, 332 (4th Cir. 2007) (stating that
    section 240(c)(7)(A) of the Act ``unambiguously provides an alien
    with the right to file one motion to reopen, regardless of whether
    he is within or without the country'').
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Comment: One commenter stated that ``[i]f EOIR decides to implement
    the proposed rule for applications that were previously reserved, [it
    should] notify the [applicant] and counsel of any intent to deny the
    case'' so that the applicant and counsel can supplement the record with
    additional evidence prior to the issuance of a decision.
    Response: As noted above, the final rule will apply prospectively
    beginning thirty days after the rule's publication and will have no
    effect on decisions that were reserved prior to the final rule's
    effective date. See Bowen v. Georgetown Univ. Hosp., 488 U.S. 204, 208
    (1988) (``[A]dministrative rules will not be construed to have
    retroactive effect unless their language requires this result.'').
    Comment: One commenter expressed concern that the final rule will
    create an incentive for immigration judges and the Board to deny
    otherwise meritorious cancellation and suspension applications because
    it will ease EOIR's docket pressures and alleviate the backlog of
    reserved cases.
    Response: The Department does not agree with the commenter's
    speculation that the rule will create an incentive for immigration
    judges and the Board to deny otherwise meritorious claims. Immigration
    judges and Board members are required to exercise their ``independent
    judgment and discretion'' in deciding all cases that come before them
    and adjudicate cases based on the law and facts presented. See 8 CFR
    1003.10(b), 1003.1(d)(1)(ii). There is a presumption of regularity that
    attaches to the actions of government agencies, see United States
    Postal Serv. v. Gregory, 534 U.S. 1, 10 (2001), and the Supreme Court
    has long held that adjudicators such as immigration judges are
    ``assumed to be [individuals] of conscience and intellectual
    discipline, capable of judging a particular controversy fairly on the
    basis of its own circumstances.'' Withrow v. Larkin, 421 U.S. 35, 55
    (1975) (internal quotation mark omitted).
    Additionally, as explained in the preamble to the proposed rule,
    immigration judges and the Board will still be required under this
    final rule to provide a legal and factual analysis for all decision
    denying cancellation and suspension applications. See 8 CFR 1003.37,
    1003.1(d)(1). If an applicant believes an immigration judge's decision
    was erroneous and not based on the appropriate applicable law and the
    facts of the case, the applicant may appeal the immigration judge's
    decision to the Board, 8 CFR 1003.38, and after exhausting
    administrative remedies, an applicant may be able to file a petition
    for review in the appropriate circuit court of appeals. See INA sec.
    242 et seq. (8 U.S.C. 1252 et seq.).
    Comment: One commenter suggested that, instead of adopting as final
    the provisions of the proposed rule, EOIR should adopt a rule allowing
    immigration judges and the Board to ``provisionally approve or
    provisionally deny'' cancellation or suspension applications once the
    annual numerical limitation has been reached.
    Response: The Department has previously determined that the
    statutory language and history of the cancellation cap provision does
    not support a permanent regime based on conditional grants. As
    discussed more fully in the preamble to the proposed rule, on September
    30, 1996, Congress enacted IIRIRA, which included a statutory cap on
    the number of applications for suspension of deportation and
    cancellation of removal that the Attorney General could grant each
    fiscal year. On October 3, 1997, the Department adopted a conditional
    grant process as a temporary measure that gave the Department time to
    consider how best to implement the statutory cap. 62 FR 51760. After
    considering the issue, the Department determined that the statute does
    not support a conditional grant system that carries over from year to
    year (such as the one established in the 1997 interim regulation)
    because the statutory cap language in section 240A(e) of the INA has
    been interpreted to mean that those eligible applicants must be granted
    relief of suspension or cancellation during the fiscal year in which
    they are given a grant under the cap. 63 FR at 52135-36. Therefore, the
    Department eliminated the conditional grant process with its
    publication of the current interim rule. Id. (codified at 8 CFR
    1240.21(c) (as in effect prior to publication of this rule)). The
    Department continues to believe that the statute does not support
    returning to a ``conditional grant'' or ``provisional grant'' system.
    Accordingly, the Department will not change the rule to adopt the
    commenter's suggestion.

    IV. Regulatory Requirements

    A. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department has reviewed this regulation in accordance with the
    RFA (5 U.S.C. 605(b)) and the Attorney General certifies that this rule
    will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of
    small entities. The rule will not regulate ``small entities,'' as that
    term is defined in 5 U.S.C. 601(6).

    B. Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of 1995

    This rule will not result in the expenditure by State, local, and
    tribal governments, in the aggregate, or by the private sector, of $100
    million or more in any one year, and it will not significantly or
    uniquely affect small governments. Therefore, no actions were deemed
    necessary under the provisions of the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act of
    1995.

    C. Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996

    This rule is not a major rule as defined by section 251 of the
    Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act of 1996 (SBREFA), 5
    U.S.C. 804(2). This rule will not result in an annual effect on the
    economy of $100 million or more; a major increase in costs or prices;
    or significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment,
    productivity, innovation, or on the ability of United States-based
    companies to compete with foreign-based companies in domestic and
    export markets.

    D. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 (Regulatory Planning and Review),
    and 13771 (Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs)

    The Department has determined that this rule is not a ``significant
    regulatory action'' under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866,
    Regulatory Planning and Review and, therefore, it has not been reviewed
    by the Office of Management and Budget.
    Moreover, this rule eliminates existing costs associated with the
    prior interim rule for purposes of Executive Order 13771, Reducing
    Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs. Specifically, EOIR
    estimates that this rule will reduce the administrative

    [[Page 57339]]

    burden and scheduling complications, as well as related costs,
    associated with cancellation of removal cases subject to the annual
    limitation.\2\ See EOIR, OPPM 12-01 (outlining current procedures
    immigration judges and court staff must follow to reserve denials).
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ To estimate the above cost savings, EOIR used available data
    from the Case Access System for EOIR, granular time records from
    EOIR's Office of Chief Immigration Judge, and Office of
    Administration cost modules. The analysis was limited to non-
    detained non-legal permanent resident cancellation of removal
    applications adjudicated by immigration courts from Fiscal Year (FY)
    2012 through FY 2017 (August 2017).
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    First, in cases involving denials, immigration judges will no
    longer be required to render oral decisions via an audiocassette and
    ship the audio tape to EOIR headquarters for a transcription but
    instead can issue an oral or written decision immediately. EOIR
    estimates that this could save the agency $607,000 annually. Second, in
    cases involving denials, the new regulation will alleviate the need for
    the immigration court to both store case files and communicate with
    parties about the status of cases while reserved, which could save the
    government $18,000 annually. Third, in cases involving denials, there
    will no longer be a need to refresh background checks, see 8 CFR
    1003.47, that expire while a case sits in reserve and which are
    required to be current before an immigration judge issues a decision.
    EOIR estimates this could save the government $152,000 annually.
    Finally, once numbers become available each fiscal year, many
    immigration judges dispose of their cases by calling the parties back
    into court for a hearing to confirm completion of required background
    checks and to render an oral decision. Additionally, in some cases, new
    information may arise, which may require additional hearing time. In
    cases involving denials, an immigration judge may issue a decision
    immediately, which circumvents the need to reschedule or rehear these
    cases. EOIR estimates that this may save the government approximately
    $748,000 annually. Accordingly, EOIR estimates this rule will eliminate
    existing costs associated with the current interim regulation in the
    amount of $1.5 million annually.
    This rule has been drafted in accordance with the principles of
    Executive Order 12866, section 1(b), and Executive Order 13563.
    Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess all costs
    and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, if regulation is
    necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits
    (including consideration of potential economic, environmental, public
    health, and safety effects, distributive impacts, and equity).
    Executive Order 13563 emphasizes the importance of quantifying both
    costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting
    flexibility. It calls on each agency to periodically review its
    existing regulations and determine whether any should be modified,
    streamlined, expanded, or repealed to make the agency's regulatory
    program more effective or less burdensome in achieving its regulatory
    objectives.
    The Department is issuing this final rule consistent with these
    Executive Orders. This rule would allow the adjudication of suspension
    of deportation and cancellation of removal cases, without unnecessary
    delays, in appropriate cases where the immigration judge or the Board
    determines that the application for such relief should be denied. The
    Department expects this rule would reduce the number of reserved
    suspension of deportation and cancellation of removal cases once the
    annual limitation has been reached. Further, this rule will have a
    positive economic impact on Department functions because it will
    significantly reduce the administrative work and scheduling
    complications associated with suspension of deportation and
    cancellation of removal cases subject to the annual limitation. While
    this rule would remove the current restrictions on issuing denials,
    immigration judges and the Board will still be required to provide a
    legal analysis for all decisions denying a suspension of deportation or
    cancellation of removal application. Accordingly, the Department does
    not foresee any burdens to the public as a result of this rule. To the
    contrary, it will benefit the public by saving administrative costs and
    allowing earlier resolution of cases.

    E. Executive Order 13132 (Federalism)

    This rule will not have substantial direct effects on the States,
    on the relationship between the national government and the States, or
    on the distribution of power and responsibilities among the various
    levels of government. Therefore, in accordance with section 6 of
    Executive Order 13132, the Department has determined that this rule
    does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the
    preparation of a federalism summary impact statement.

    F. Executive Order 12988 (Civil Justice Reform)

    This rule meets the applicable standards set forth in sections 3(a)
    and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

    G. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, Public Law
    104-13, 44 U.S.C. chapter 35, and its implementing regulations, 5 CFR
    part 1320, do not apply to this rule because there are no new or
    revised recordkeeping or reporting requirements.

    List of Subjects in 8 CFR Part 1240

    Administrative practice and procedure, Aliens, Immigration, Legal
    services, Organization and functions (Government agencies).

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, the Department
    of Justice amends 8 CFR part 1240 as follows:

    PART 1240--PROCEEDINGS TO DETERMINE REMOVABILITY OF ALIENS IN THE
    UNITED STATES

    0
    1. The authority citation for part 1240 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 8 U.S.C. 1103, 1158, 1182, 1182, 1186a, 1186b, 1225,
    1226, 1228, 1229a, 1229b, 1229c, 1252 note, 1361, 1362; secs. 202
    and 203, Pub. L. 105-100 (111 Stat. 2160, 2193); sec. 902, Pub. L.
    105-277 (112 Stat. 2681).

    0
    2. Amend Sec. 1240.21 by removing and reserving paragraph (b) and
    revising paragraphs (c) introductory text and (c)(1) to read as
    follows:


    Sec. 1240.21 Suspension of deportation and adjustment of status under
    section 244(a) of the Act (as in effect before April 1, 1997) and
    cancellation of removal and adjustment of status under section 240A(b)
    of the Act for certain nonpermanent residents.

    * * * * *
    (c) Grants of suspension of deportation or cancellation of removal
    in fiscal years subsequent to fiscal year 1998. On and after October 1,
    1998, the Immigration Court and the Board may grant applications for
    suspension of deportation and adjustment of status under section 244(a)
    of the Act (as in effect prior to April 1, 1997) or cancellation of
    removal and adjustment of status under section 240A(b) of the Act that
    meet the statutory requirements for such relief and warrant a favorable
    exercise of discretion until the annual numerical limitation has been
    reached in that fiscal year. The awarding of such relief shall be
    determined according to the date the order granting such relief becomes
    final as defined in Sec. Sec. 1003.1(d)(7) and 1003.39 of this
    chapter.

    [[Page 57340]]

    (1) Applicability of the annual limitation. When grants are no
    longer available in a fiscal year, further decisions to grant such
    relief must be reserved until such time as a grant becomes available
    under the annual limitation in a subsequent fiscal year.
    * * * * *

    Dated: November 21, 2017.
    Jefferson B. Sessions III,
    Attorney General.
    [FR Doc. 2017-26104 Filed 12-4-17; 8:45 am]
    BILLING CODE 4410-30-P
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