Many people are confused in the wake of DHS’s recent announcement about how immigration agencies will use Prosecutorial Discretion in determining low and high priority immigration cases.
SEE FULL AILA ADVISORY
The American Immigration Lawyer’s Association (“AILA”) has released a Consumer Advisory on the new Prosecutorial Discretion policy of the Obama Administration. AILA advises the following:
What the new policy is NOT:
The Obama Administration announcement is NOT an amnesty, it is NOT about granting legal status, and is NOT something that you can sign-up for!
The Obama Administration made very clear that the announcements do NOT provide any way to “apply” for a work permit or “EAD” nor is there a new way to apply to remain in the United States.
What the new policy IS:
The Obama Administration announced the creation of a high-level working group made up of Department of Homeland Security and Department of Justice officials who are to do the following:
Review all cases already pending before the immigration courts. Those that are considered “low priority” may be administratively closed. Those that are considered a “high priority” will be prosecuted more aggressively.
There are no rules or guarantees that a particular type of case will be considered a “low” or “high” priority. Recent guidelines are helpful, but no one can tell you if your case is a low priority–only immigration authorities will make that decision.
In the future, immigration authorities will review the cases people before they are placed in removal proceedings. Those that are “low priority” may not be referred to the immigration court.
Create department-wide guidance to help USCIS, CBP, and ICE agents and officers make better, more consistent decisions about who to place in removal proceedings.
Issue guidance on providing discretion in compelling cases for persons who already have a final order of removal.
The Advisory concludes on the following note:
The best course of action is to consult an immigration lawyer or accredited representative, not to take action because a friend, neighbor or coworker encourages you to act.
If you have no paperwork in this country, you definitely do not want to turn yourself into ICE on the mistaken belief that you will obtain residency due to this new policy.