On August 18, 2011, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) held a telephonic meeting announcing the process for exercising prosecutorial discretion in the 300,000 immigration removal cases currently pending in the United States.
An inter-agency working group will be established to identify low priority removal cases that should be considered for prosecutorial discretion. Criteria will be based on factors outlined in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Director John Morton’s June 17, 2011 memo regarding prosecutorial discretion. Vulnerable groups whose cases will be reviewed include young people who would qualify for the DREAM Act, military veterans and their families, victims of crime, and individuals with strong ties to family and community.
As a result of the review, cases deemed to be of "low priority" for removal will be administratively closed. Individuals whose cases are closed may be eligible to apply for work authorization. All applications for benefits will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
The review process will not apply to anyone not currently in removal proceedings, however the Administration has stated that, going forward, "low priority" individuals will not be placed in proceedings based on the same criteria.
CLINIC will continue to monitor the implementation of prosecutorial discretion across the country and asks that affiliates who have had experience with the policy or with case review contact Allison Posner, CLINIC’s Director of Advocacy, at firstname.lastname@example.org .