DHS: Prioritizing Enforcement and Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion
Experts Welcome New Guidance, But Agree the Devil is in the Details
Released on Mon, Aug 22, 2011
Washington D.C. - Today, the American Immigration Council hosted a briefing to discuss the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) announcement last week that it would issue agency-wide guidance to make certain that prosecutorial discretion is exercised in a manner that ensures the agency's enforcement resources are used to remove those who pose the greatest risk to public safety. DHS also announced the creation of a joint committee with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that will review nearly 300,000 cases currently in removal proceedings to determine which ones are low priority and can be administratively closed in order to begin unclogging immigration courts. While it is unclear how these proposals will play out in practice, the federal government must continue to assert its authority over immigration given the rise of state legislative initiatives that seek to impose different priorities on immigration enforcement.
Melissa Crow, Director of the Legal Action Center at the American Immigration Council discussed the practical implications of the use of greater prosecutorial discretion and had a warning for immigrants not in removal proceedings:
“Prosecutorial discretion is not a new concept, and is exercised on a daily basis by law enforcement agencies. It refers to the authority of a law enforcement agency or officer to decide whether – and to what extent – to enforce the law in a particular case. Prosecutorial discretion can take a variety of forms, depending on the nature of the case involved.
DHS has also been clear that last week's announcements do not impact individuals who are not currently in removal proceedings. Thus, 'DREAM' students and others unlawfully present in the United States, but not in removal proceedings should not actively seek out the immigration authorities. Since there are no guarantees that an individual removal case will be administratively closed, anyone who seeks to be placed in removal proceedings could end up being deported.”
Clarissa Martinez, the Director of Immigration and National Campaigns at the National Council of La Raza discussed the Administration’s move:
“This is a huge step forward for our country. This means that DHS will be using its resources more effectively. For those attacking this approach, I would challenge them to say what should be prioritized over national security and public safety. Every law enforcement agency uses prosecutorial discretion to do just that."
Javier Morillo-Alicea, President of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 26 in Minnesota said:
“For years now we have reminded the Administration that their stated enforcement priorities of going after criminals—not law-abiding citizens—was not an on-the-ground reality. Last week’s announcement, if properly implemented, will give teeth to long-stated enforcement priorities which is an extremely important move on the part of the Administration. It is right on policy and it is right on politics.”
To listen to a recording of the briefing or view other resources on Prosecutorial Discretion see:
For more information contact Wendy Sefsaf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-507-7524
Hold CBP Accountable
actions taken across the country in an ongoing effort to establish accountability and transparency of one of the fastest growing agencies in the United States.
Administrative Relief Resource Center
Learn how individuals can prepare for administrative relief, find legal assistance and community education resource, and ways that you can help immigrants and immigrant-serving organizations.
- District Court Rules Grant of TPS Is an Admission for Adjustment of Status Purposes
- First Circuit Joins Other Courts in Holding That Immigrants Can Pursue Cases From Outside the United States
- Seventh Circuit Decision Expands Availability of Hardship Waivers to Lawful Permanent Residents
- ICE Agrees to Release Thousands of Previously-Withheld Records
- Court Says ICE Failed to Satisfy FOIA Requirements in Council’s Suit to Compel Disclosure of Records on Access to Counsel
- Eleventh Circuit Holds That Filing Limitations on Motions to Reopen Are Subject to Equitable Tolling
- Letter to DHS Outlines Problematic Practices That Undermine Due Process Protections for Asylum Seekers
- Transfers of Detained Families Traumatizes Mothers and Children and Interferes with Access to Lawyers
- Unrepresented, Unaccompanied Children Ordered Deported After Just One Hearing
- Can State Agencies License The Detention of Immigrant Families?
- Temporary Restraining Order Against Texas Family Detention Centers Issued
- Supreme Court Considering Whether Misdemeanor Results in Automatic Deportation
- Obama Administration Goes to the Supreme Court in DACA and DAPA Lawsuit
- Visa Bulletin Change Fails to Deliver
- Visa Bulletin “Do-Over” Undercuts Visa Modernization
- First Step in Visa Modernization: Making the Wait More Palatable
- Five Families Released After Prolonged Detention
- Restrictionists Continue to Attack H-4 Work Authorization
- Government Ordered to Promptly Release Children From Family Detention
- Court Issues Decision in Washtech, Case Challenging Training for U.S.-Educated Noncitizens
- Annual Review of State-Level Immigration Policy Still Trending Pro-Immigrant
- The Government Doubles Down on Locking Up Immigrant Mothers and Children
- Insider Speaks Out Alongside Formerly Detained Mothers Seeking Protection in the U.S.
- Court Finds Federal Officers Can be Sued for Mistreatment of Immigrants in Detention
- Judge’s Order in Flores Should Signal the End of Family Detention
- White House Report on Improving Our Legal Immigration System: Too Little Too Late?
- Some 3-Year Work Permits Being Recalled by USCIS
- Appellate Court Hears Oral Argument in Texas v. United States
- U.S. Settles With 4-Year-Old U.S. Citizen They Wrongfully Deported
- Members of Congress Report on Texas Family Detention Center Visits
- Supreme Court Finds Conviction for Possession of a Sock Was Not a Deportable Offense
- Court Rejects Restrictionists’ Attempts to Derail Work Authorization for H-4 Spouses
- Immigration Appeals Court Reverses Position on Deportation Waivers
- Why DAPA Applications Were Not Accepted by USCIS on May 19, 2015
- Reports: Detention Doesn’t Deter Migrants and Refugees From Coming to United States
- Arpaio Faces Skeptical Judges In Lawsuit Challenging Obama’s Immigration Action
- Supreme Court to Decide Whether It’s Okay to Deprive a Person of His Day In Immigration Court
- No Justice For Family of Mexican Child Killed By U.S. Border Patrol Agent
- The Court Decision on Deferred Action Everyone Should Be Talking About
- Faith Leaders Visit Immigrant Detention Center as Mothers Begin Hunger Strike
- Immigration Agency Issues Long-Awaited Guidance on L-1B Visa Petitions
- Government Claims Children in Family Detention Centers Are Not Entitled to Protections
- Documenting Ongoing Border Patrol Abuses
- Immigration Action Provides Certain H-4 Spouses Work Authorization
- New Immigration Enforcement Policy Remains In Effect Despite Texas Lawsuit
- Supreme Court Hears Argument on Whether Government Must Justify Its Visa Denial
- The Detention of Children and Their Families is Still Unjust and Still Against the Law
- Unrepresented Children Still Being Fast-Tracked Through Immigration Hearings
- When is Possession of a Sock a Deportable Offense?
- U.S. Education of Foreign Students is Under Attack
- Do the President’s New Immigration Policies Really Mark the End of Secure Communities?
- How New Guidance Improves a Waiver Program to Limit Family Separations
- Five Things to Know About Deportation Relief for Some Immigrant Parents
- How Many Immigrants Could Be Eligible for Relief and Not Know It?
- Civil Rights Complaint Documents Government’s Failure to Properly Screen Asylum Seekers
- Third Federal Court Rejects Government Interpretation of ‘Admission’ into U.S.
- How USCIS Tried to Keep Out a Skilled Brazilian Steakhouse Worker
- How Can a Three Year Old Represent Himself in Court?
- Report Discloses Deportation of Central American Asylum Seekers
- Federal Court Refuses to Dismiss Case of U.S. Citizen Girl Who Was Deported
- Inspector General Falls Short in Documenting Border Detention Conditions
- Why Groups Are Suing the Government over Rushed Deportation Process for Mothers and Children
- Courts Continue to Reject Arizona Style Laws, Even as House Embraces SAFE Act
- Here Are Some of the Stories of Women Held at Artesia
- Why We are Suing the Government on Behalf of All Children Facing Deportation
- District Court Decides Some TPS Beneficiaries May Finally Become Lawful Permanent Residents
- SCOTUS Decides Immigrants Can “Age-Out” of Visa Petitions
- The DACA Renewal Process: Everything You Need to Know
- CBP Releases Report Critical of Agency, Issues Updated Use of Force Policy
- Summary Removal Procedures and Their Role in Rising Deportations
- New Data Show More Than Half a Million Immigrants Granted DACA
- Drop in Court-Ordered Deportations Means Little to Overall Deportation Numbers
- USCIS Releases Information About DACA Renewal Process
- Circuit Court Ruling Affirms Detainers Not Mandatory
- New Directive Clarifies Existing Use of Force Policy at CBP
- Customs and Border Protection Conceals Scathing Audit of Border Patrol’s Use of Force Policy
- What the DACA Renewal Process Should Look Like
- Petition Challenges DHS on Enforcement Priorities
- The Washington Post Exposes Sorry State of Immigration Courts
- Miranda-like Warning for Immigrants Argued in Ninth Circuit
- Why Is There a Disparity in DACA Application Rates Among Different Nationalities?
- Supreme Court Considers Restrictive Interpretation of Child Status Protection Act
- The Punishment Should Fit the Crime for Immigrants, Too
- Keeping CBP In Line With Proposed Reforms
- Understanding DACA's Education Requirement
- Supreme Court to Interpret Child Status Protection Act
- New York City Pilots Free Legal Representation in Immigration Court