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Finally, Some Relief for Clients and Respondents in Removal—But What DoesThis All Mean?

On August 18th, 2011, the current Obama Administration and the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) announced the establishment of a high-level joint Department of Homeland Security along with the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to determine which cases are high priority versus low priority. In distinguishing between these two categories, only high priority cases will cause individuals to be placed into removal proceedings, and low priority cases already in proceedings would be strongly considered for administrative closing by ICE/DHS attorneys.  Closing an  individual’s case currently in deportation or removal  proceedings would also result in the client becoming eligible for work authorization.

Factors in Determining High versus Low Priority

Two  John Morton memorandums (“Morton Memo”) issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on  June 17th 2011 lay out the detailed factors to be considered in a favorable exercise of prosecutorial discretion .  Essentially, a favorable exercise of discretion would allow clients to terminate proceedings and receive work authorization eventually.  A complex balancing test of factors will be used to determine eligibility.  Daily as immigration attorneys, we are seeing how the following factors are being used to favor our clients with DHS. Below are some of the factors enumerated in the Morton Memo:

  •   Long time Permanent residents
  •  Minors and the Elderly
  •  Individuals who have Been Present Since Childhood
  • Individuals with serious disabilities or health issues
  • Women Who are Nursing or Pregnant
  • Victims of Domestic Violence or other serious crimes

Again, DHS will be weighing the totality of the circumstances in each individual’s case.

Clients with Criminal Record

It is good to know that there is no particular crime that makes any client ineligible for the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.  However, the following activities may cause an individual’s case to be declined a favorable review of discretion:

  • Serious felons
  • Repeat Offenders
  • Individuals with a lengthy criminal record of any kind
  • Known Gang Members

Overall, the announcement is very recent. We are just beginning to see how ICE/DHS attorneys are deciding which cases they will close and cease removal and deportation proceedings against our clients.  How long a favorable grant to terminate  will last is not known by anyone, but maybe the Obama Administration.  However, this is truly good news for our clients and anyone facing removal proceedings.  An immigration attorney is essential to guide you through this complex but hopeful temporary relief from removal.

To contact our law office, you may contact us at info@scottcclaw.com or call us at our numbers conveniently listed on our website www.scottcclaw.com.

 

ScottMond Law Firm

www.scottcclaw.com

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