STATEMENT: CAP on Department of Homeland Security’s Prosecutorial Discretion Announcement

Washington, D.C.—The Center for American Progress issued the following statement today on yesterday’s Department of Homeland Security announcement issuing new guidance to ICE attorneys regarding the usage of prosecutorial discretion in deportation cases. Additionally, DHS announced they would start a training program for all field officers, and begin a pilot program in Baltimore and Detroit to review cases currently pending in deportation.

We welcome the Department of Homeland Security’s announcement that they are moving forward with the smart and important step of further prioritizing our nation’s limited enforcement resources. By making sure that prosecutorial discretion is the norm rather than the exception in all facets of immigration enforcement, DHS will ensure that we focus on removing threats to our safety, rather than immigrants who have committed no crime.

Yesterday’s announcement builds upon the process of prosecutorial discretion laid out in the June 17 ICE memo, and August 18 announcement that DHS will review of all current deportation cases, to close those deemed to be a low priority, and focus on the worst of the worst. We are heartened that DHS is beginning immediate training for field officers and attorneys to ensure that its priorities are being taken into account, and support the department’s pilot program to remove low-priority cases from the already-overburdened immigration courts.

Time will tell if DHS can translate its sensible policies into successful practice. Much depends on sustained leadership, focus and follow-through. The goal of the policy is admirable but without results it is only words on paper.

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