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DHS to Announce a Review Beginning Today of All 300,000 Deportation Cases – New York Times

November 17, 2011

Today’s New York Times previews an announcement by DHS later today that begins the process for reviewing the backlog of 300,000 deportation cases in the immigration courts.

In recent testimony before Congress, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano assured lawmakers that the process for beginning large scale application of prosecutorial discretion would begin “soon.” Prosecutorial discretion allows immigration agents and attorneys to prioritize the deportation, known as “removal,” of undocumented individuals with criminal records. It will deprioritize the removal of undocumented individuals without criminal histories. The priorities were described in a June memo by the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Morton.

The American Immigration Lawyers Association, the largest national organization of immigration attorneys, recently conducted a survey of its members to determine how prosecutorial discretion had been applied from June to November. According to the press release

Key findings from the AILA/AIC survey, Holding DHS Accountable on Prosecutorial Discretion, highlight the fact that while a few ICE offices have begun to implement the guidance, most have not and many are actively resistant. Some officials said their jobs are “to arrest and deport.”


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