Attorney General Jeff Sessions directed immigration judges on Thursday to stop delaying removal cases for illegal aliens through administrative closure. Under the Obama administration, immigration judges used administrative closure to indefinitely delay hundreds of thousands of removal cases, allowing illegal aliens to be released into the United States.

The decision to end administrative closures will likely speed up the processing time of cases.

"No attorney general has delegated such broad authority, and legal or policy arguments do not justify it. I therefore hold that immigration judges and the Board [of Immigration Appeals] lack this authority except where a previous regulation or settlement agreement has expressly conferred it," AG Sessions said.

Between FY2012 and FY2017, the backlog held more than 350,000 cases. Of those cases, immigration judges pushed more than 215,000 to the list of administrative closures. In order to avoid overwhelming immigration courts, AG Sessions' ruling will not reopen all 350,000 cases list immediately.

"Attorney General Sessions is doing what should have been done long ago, which is trying to ensure that illegal aliens are actually found deportable, then removed from the United States, rather than leaving them here in limbo, still illegal but living under color of law," NumbersUSA Government Relations Manager Rosemary Jenks said.

For more on this story, see the Washington Times.

Updated: Fri, Jun 1st 2018 @ 11:25am EDT