According to the recent Syracuse University Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse Report, Prosecutorial Discretion is on the rise in some immigration courts. Prosecutorial Discretion occurs in removal (deportation) cases when the Assistant Chief Counsel for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE, or the Prosecutor) agrees to close a case prior to a decision by an Immigration Judge on whether to remove an immigrant. The Prosecutorial Discretion program began in October 2011 in an effort to reduce backlog. Prosecutorial Discretion is used primarily to allow low-priority cases to be dismissed so the Prosecutor can focus on prosecuting high-priority cases, e.g. when the immigrant has been convicted of a violent crime. The report indicates an overall 80% increase in the number of cases closed using Prosecutorial Discretion from fiscal years 2012 to 2013.

So what does this mean? It means counsel for immigrants in removal proceedings should carefully review the ICE Memo, build an argument for, and request Prosecutorial Discretion. In short, it is good news that ICE realizes that it should not focus on immigrants who have families and a history of civil obedience.

As immigration lawyers who practice in Immigration Court, we are aware that our clients' remedies in removal proceedings are often very limited. The increase in Prosecutorial Discretion is encouraging news for many immigrants in removal proceedings and their loved ones.

Please call the GKH Immigration Group toll free at 888-463-8117, or send an e-mail or more information or representation in your immigration process.

GKH attorneys pride themselves on being on the forefront of new immigration developments to best serve clients located around the world. David M. Elliott has been practicing immigration and business law for over 17 years.

This blog is not intended to create an attorney/client relationship or provide legal advice. Please contact the author if you have any questions or comments regarding the subject matter.