WASHINGTON - The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responded Thursday to the April 13 letter by 22 Democratic Senators that asked the President to use his executive authority to grant relief from deportation and deferred action to DREAM Act eligible youth.
In the letter, DHS announced that it will provide field guidance to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) and Custom and Border Protection (CBP) personnel on utilizing prosecutorial discretion to focus on the agency’s enforcement priorities.
Immigrants with certain compelling factors will not be considered a priority for deportation, including military veterans, pregnant and nursing mothers, the elderly, disabled and immigrants with serious health conditions, individuals brought to the U.S. during their childhood, length of presence in lawful immigration status and domestic violence and victims of crimes.
Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum said, “Today, the Obama Administration announced a sound policy decision that prioritizes valuable law enforcement resources in a way that will keep families together and communities safe by focusing on true threats to public safety.
Noorani continued, "This welcome announcement provides much-awaited temporary relief to immigrants who are contributing members of their communities and our nation. It is an essential measure until Congress gets off the sidelines and into the game of truly reforming our immigration system. How the new guidance will be implemented by immigration officials on the ground is yet to be seen, but it is an important step in the right direction. If implemented correctly, this would lead to a smarter enforcement strategy ensuring that honorable military veterans, vulnerable populations including the sick, the elderly and children, and other hard-working immigrants with deep ties to the community will not be ensnared in the dysfunctional deportation system."
He concluded by saying, "Ultimately, the responsibility to comprehensively fix our immigration system rests on Congress. We thank President Obama and his Administration for taking a bold step toward a deportation system that makes sense rather than making waste.”