“Low-Priority” Removal Cases to be Reviewed on a Case-by -Case Basis

In letter to Sen. Dick Durbin (IL) and other members of the Senate, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Janet Napolitano, announced an interagency effort to implement the use of prosecutorial discretion in removal proceedings. The renewed call for the use of prosecutorial discretion by ICE officers was announced in USCIS Director Morton’s memorandum of June 17, 2011.

The interagency team will consist of DHS and Department of Justice (DOJ) officers and attorneys, including representatives from throughout DHS and from the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) and the Office of Immigration Litigation at DOJ.  The purpose of the team will be to identify “low-priority” removal cases in all stages before, after and during removal proceedings. 

According to Secretary Napolitano, low-priority cases are those not involving the removal of “criminal aliens, those who pose a threat to public safety and national security, repeat immigration law violators and other individuals prioritized for removal”.  Once identified, beneficiaries of prosecutorial discretion will receive a stay on removal proceedings and may be eligible for work authorization.

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