Immigration Law

US to Review 300,000 Deportation Files; Many Might Win Reprieve Under New Case-By-Case Policy


The United States is going to review 300,000 files of those currently in deportation proceedings as alleged illegal immigrants, as well as all future cases, to determine whether the individuals at issue qualify for a reprieve under a new federal policy announced by the White House yesterday.

While it isn’t clear exactly how the policy will be applied, it appears that those without criminal records, especially individuals who were brought to this country as children and now aren’t properly documented, likely could qualify for a reprieve that would allow them to study and even work in the U.S., according to the Palm Beach Post and the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.).

The Post reports that only so-called priority offenders will now be pursued, according to what White House officials said at a conference call yesterday. That group includes individuals who are deemed to be a national security threat; gang members and people who have committed serious crimes; and repeat immigration offenders and those who recently entered this country illegally.

Among those who now expect to stay in the U.S. is Manuel Guerra, 27, a Florida immigration activist who had feared he would be deported to Mexico, where he hadn’t lived since he was 16. Already, his lawyer, Richard Huber, called Guerra to say he has spoken with the prosecutor, who is dropping the case, allowing his client to stay here.

“This is something that came from above and it’s huge for a lot of my clients,” Huber told the Post.

A Fox News story says attorneys and officials from the Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security will be applying criteria similar to those announced in a June 17 memo by John Morton, the director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

In the memo, he listed 19 factors to consider in determining whether to exercise “prosecutorial discretion” on a case-by-case basis, the article says. The factors are similar to those called for by the Dream Act, which would allow many young people brought to this country as children to continue with their studies. It has not been enacted by Congress.

The new policy was cheered by students who would benefit from the enactment of the federal statute, reports the L.A. Now blog of the Los Angeles Times.

However, opponents of the new policy say it changes the law without congressional approval, another Fox News article reports.

“This plan amounts to backdoor amnesty for hundreds of thousands–if not millions–of illegal aliens,” said Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, in a written statement. “We need to remind President Obama that we elected a president that serves beneath the law and did not anoint a king that is above the law.”

Previously, deportations had increased significantly after President Barack Obama took office, the Washington Post reported last year.

Related coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “One Year Later, Star Miami Student Still Has a Dream”

ABAJournal.com: “Given Reprieve re Deportation Plan, Illegal Immigrant Brought to US as Child Hopes for Legal Career”

ABAJournal.com: “Former Washington Post Reporter Loses Driver’s License After Revealing His Undocumented Status”

ABAJournal.com: “Husband’s Perseverance Helps Wife and Son Win OK to Return Home to US, Six Years Early”

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