New Change in Immigration Policy (Prosecutorial Discretion Memos)


The Immigration world has been abuzz in recent weeks following releases from the White House and DHS. There has been a lot of "stuff" put out there and we want to help you get to the truth, using facts. To do so we need to understand the lead up.

On June 17, 2011, two memos were released by ICE chief, John Morton, (both embedded below), now known as the "Morton Memos":

  • Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion Consistent with the Civil Immigration Enforcement Priorities of the Agency for the Apprehension, Detention, and Removal of Aliens, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

prosecutorial-discretion-memo -

  • Prosecutorial Discretion: Certain Victims, Witnesses, and Plaintiffs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

On August 18, 2001, Department of Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Napolitano announced the process of implementing the Prosecutorial Discretion (PD) memos in a letter to 22 Senators. Secretary Napolitano announced the creation of a special task force to review on a case by case basis the 300,000 plus people who are currently in removal (deportation) proceedings in order to determine if those who are prioritized to be deported are indeed going to be removed. It is clear from the later paragraphs of the letter (below) that this is not an amnesty nor a comprehensive legalization program (So please beware of scams from notaries and lawyers alike).

That same day, the White House blogged stating the administration will not be "focusing our resources on deporting people who are low priorities for deportation. This includes individuals such as young people who were brought to this country as small children, and who know no other home. It also includes individuals such as military veterans and the spouses of active-duty military personnel...applying common sense guidelines to make these decisions, like a person’s ties and contributions to the community, their family relationships and military service record."

Immigration Update Maximizing Public Safety and Better Focusing Resources The White House

We welcome ICE prioritizing removals rather than the deport 'em all policy we have seen in recent years. Only time will tell if this is political hot air or a meaningful change in policy enforcement.

Ricky Malik, Esq.