Prosecutorial Discretion

Aggie Hoffman

On June 17, 2011, John Morton, Director, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) issued a memo that directs ICE attorneys to review cases pending in Immigration Courts and exercise discretion as to whom to remove from the U.S. Early in 2012 more specific guidelines were released, explaining who will be targeted for removal and who may benefit from discretionary action, allowing the person to remain in the U.S.

Not eligible for discretion are those with felony or multiple misdemeanor violations, crimes of violence, including spousal abuse, sexual abuse of minors, drug offenses, and certain immigration violators: those previously deported, committed visa fraud, or made a false claim of citizenship.

Eligible persons include, members (present or past) of the US military or Coast Guard, or their spouse or child; a child who came to the US under age 16 and has been in the US 5 yrs or longer and is in high school or graduated or is attending university; one over 65 who has been in the U.S. for 10 years; a victim of domestic violence, human trafficking or other crime; a permanent resident for 10 years with only one non-violent conviction; one who suffers from serious mental or physical conditions; has long term presence in the U.S. with immediate relative that is a US citizen, with compelling community ties and contributions to the U.S; and victims, witnesses, and plaintiffs in litigation.

Eligible persons will may have their court hearings terminated, while those ineligible will be forced through a hearing to determine whether they will be deported.

Have a question about how this development could affect your status? Send your question to our Los Angeles offices and one of our specialists will contact you with an answer.
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