New Obama Memo May Let DREAMers, Vets, Avoid Deportation

On Friday the Obama Administration issued a memo that apparently enacts several portions of the DREAM Act. The memo, from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), notes that employees (agents, lawyers, etc.) have “prosecutorial discretion” and lists detailed ways in which this discretion may be used and with whom.

The short version is that ICE may not necessary feel compelled to deport DREAMers just because their immigration status is in question. Here’s an excerpt from the memo about where this discretion comes into play:

  • deciding to issue, reissue, serve, file,  or  cancel a Notice to Appear (NTA);
  • focusing enforcement resources on particular administrative violations or  conduct;
  • deciding whom to stop, question, or arrest for an administrative violation;
  • deciding whom to detain or  to release on bond, supervision, personal recognizance, or  other condition;
  • seeking expedited removal or other forms of removal by means other than a  formal removal proceeding in immigration court;
  • settling or  dismissing a proceeding;
  • granting deferred action, granting parole, or  staying a final order of removal;
  • agreeing to voluntary departure, the withdrawal of  an application for admission, or  other action in lieu of  obtaining a formal order of removal;
  • pursuing an appeal;
  • executing a removal order; and
  • responding to or  joining in a motion to reopen removal proceedings  and to  consider joining in a motion to grant relief or a benefit.

And the things ICE may consider when deciding whether or not to pursue a case include:

  • veterans and members of the  U.S. armed forces;
  • long-time lawful permanent residents;
  • minors and elderly individuals;
  • individuals present in the United States since childhood;
  • pregnant or  nursing women;
  • victims of domestic violence; trafficking, or  other  serious crimes;
  • individuals who suffer from a serious mental or  physical disability; and
  • individuals with serious  health conditions.

Of course, just because ICE employees have discretion, doesn’t mean they’ll use it, but this is a big departure from the Obama Administration’s policies of historic deportations and Secure Communities deportations of non-criminals. Hopefully there’ll be more ICE officials deciding to use this new information than not. Thanks to Charlotte for the tip!

Follow Sara Inés Calderón on Twitter @SaraChicaD

[Photo By Daquella manera]

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