Obama announces new “Prosecutorial Discretion Policy”

Today President Obama announced that the government will begin implementing the prosecutorial discretion memo that was issued on June 17th by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director, John Morton. You can read the memo in full here.

A summary of the memo and its implications:

Under this memo, a group of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ) staff will develop criteria to determine “low-priority” removal cases that should be considered for prosecutorial discretion. Cases that meet the criteria would be administratively closed (barring extraordinary circumstances).

These criteria could consider positive factors such as:

  • Circumstances of arrival – especially if the person came to the US as a child
  • Pursuit of education – if they have graduated from high school in the United States and/or are pursuing higher education
  • U.S. Military service
  • Ties to the U.S., including family relationships
  • Pregnant or nursing women
  • Age, especially for minors and the elderly
  • If the person is a primary caretaker of another person with a severe illness or disability
  • Persons who are likely to be granted temporary or permanent status because they are an asylum seeker, victim of domestic violence, human trafficking, or other crime

The administration should begin reviewing all pending cases before immigration officials to identify those that meet these new criteria, and moving forward ICE attorneys will conduct a regular review of every case scheduled for a hearing to identify future cases that meet these criteria.

HRI welcomes this positive news from the Obama administration.

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