A move by the Obama administration on Thursday, which calls for case-by-case reviews of deportation cases, will provide relief to undocumented immigrants facing the threat of deportation.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sent a letter to US Senators yesterday informing them about the decision and saying it will allow immigration officials to focus their resources on deporting the most dangerous undocumented immigrants in the system, which has over 300,000 cases pending.
“Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons,” Napolitano said.
Cecilia Muñoz, White House Director of Intergovernmental Affairs, said in the White House blog that young adults and children who were brought into the country illegally by their parents, military veterans and spouses of active-duty military personnel were “low-priority cases” and that “common sense guidelines” would be used in the case-by-case reviews.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), who sent a letter to Napolitano earlier this year urging her to halt deportations of students eligible for legalization under the DREAM Act, praised the new policy.
“We need to be doing all we can to keep these talented, dedicated, American students here, not wasting increasingly precious resources sending them away to countries they barely remember,” Durbin said in a statement. “The Administration’s new process is a fair and just way to deal with an important group of immigrant students and I will closely monitor DHS to ensure it is fully implemented.”
The specific criteria that will be used to evaluate each immigration case will be developed by a Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department working group.
“In the end, this means more immigration enforcement pressure where it counts the most, and less where it doesn’t – that’s the smartest way to follow the law while we stay focused on working with the Congress to fix it,” Muñoz concluded in her blog.