Administration begins to pare down immigration cases
The Obama administration says it will drop cases against immigrants with no criminal histories.
November 17th, 2011
06:12 PM ET

Administration begins to pare down immigration cases

By The CNN Wire

(CNN) - The Obama administration said Thursday it immediately will begin reviewing all new immigration cases to make sure they comply with administration priorities - which focus on pursuing cases involving criminals who endanger public safety or national security, while dropping cases against immigrants with no criminal histories.

Beginning December 4, officials will begin to apply the same criteria to the backlog of some 300,000 deportation cases pending in federal immigration courts, beginning with courts in Baltimore and Denver.

The policy was touted by administration officials as "smart and effective immigration enforcement."

Immigrant communities have long sought the change, but critics blast it as a "backdoor amnesty program."

The new policy gives immigration officials guidelines on which immigration cases to pursue, with the highest priority being on people who pose a danger to public safety or national security, or who are egregious immigration law violators. Enforcement officers are being instructed to pursue those cases.

The guidelines also list factors that officers should consider when deciding to "administratively close" or "stay" a case. Among them: whether the immigrant arrived in the United States at a young age, whether they served in the military and whether they are providers for their families.

The changes are being phased in.

Beginning immediately, according to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official, attorneys will begin reviewing all incoming and certain pending cases to ensure they conform with ICE's enforcement priorities.

Then, in December, the government will launch a six-week pilot program in Baltimore and Denver to test the process for reviewing cases pending before the immigration court.

ICE has launched a training program on the appropriate use of prosecutorial discretion, ICE said.

"They are implementing a backdoor amnesty program here without authorization from Congress," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform. The guidelines "basically... amounts to a 'how to' guide to illegal aliens and their attorneys on how to avoid being deported from the United States."

Mehlman said it makes sense for ICE to give priority to the most serious offenders, but said it is wrong to ignore lesser violators.

"Every law enforcement agency in the world sets priorities, but that doesn't mean they avoid enforcing other laws," he said.

soundoff (28 Responses)
  1. mabel floyd

    i have not submitted a post until a few minutes ago and yet i get a note from you stating i have made that post before. NO I HAVE NOT

    November 20, 2011 at 1:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Johan S


    November 18, 2011 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      That won't stop the Republicans portraying it as "Obama unleashing criminal smelly drug dealing mexicans on our innocent American neighborhoods".

      November 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Phil in Oregon

    I see now. After prosecuting a record number of cases last year so he can use the statistics for next year's campaign, now he backs off to get the Latin vote. Clever. Willing, again, to sell out the people to get what he wants. As far as I can see, his main accomplishment will be the biggest deficit increase in history.

    November 18, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  4. Jack

    "the highest priority being on people who pose a danger to public safety or national security" what about the danger to my wallet illegals cost 100 billion a year.

    November 18, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chris

    First of all it took this long to accomplish something that should have been done 20 years ago. and second of all hell just send them all back across the border. Between them and all the illegals that the US will never see a dime of taxes just flop them back from where they came from and let me more than 75 % of the 300K come from down south of the border. I am so sick and tired of paying for their children's education and there taxes. They live in a free country and pay nothing while the rest of us AMERICANS pay for them. Get a grip CNN and really tell the news about all the illegals in this country and then maybe just maybe the rest of country will feel like I do, which most do but are not as vocal as I.

    November 18, 2011 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |
  6. TexMan

    This policy is nothing more than an advertisement for more illegal aliens to enter the Country. They are criminals by entering the Country illegally. They breed anchor children and State and local taxpayers foot the bill for their Medicaid care, WIC, SNAP and food stamps and special school education.

    Send them all back to their Country of origin. Refuse to elect any candidate who refuses to comply with their oath to enforce the laws of the US.

    November 18, 2011 at 8:03 am | Report abuse |
    • scubagal1962

      AMEN TexMan !!!!!!!

      November 18, 2011 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  7. James

    Obama can't export illegals as he is one himself. Check out the video where an employer enters Obama's Social Security number into eVerify and it comes back as "FRAUDULENT", meaning according to the federal system of identifying illegal aliens, Obama is an illegal alien. Further investigation revealed he is using an SS Number of a dead white guy from Connecticut. These are the FACTS! Check it out and you decide if the birthers are nut-jobs or did they stumble on Obama's biggest secret.

    November 18, 2011 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  8. MadesInUSA1961

    Obama's administration will ruin our country. The only way to stop policies like this is to vote him out of office. Illegal immigrants rob our government with money from tax paying citizens for everything from food stamps, medical care, housing, education and legal representation by publicly appointed lawyers. Why is it that a citizen can be put in jail or fined for littering but some one can be let go to roam free in our country with no fear of being deported? This is a disgrace! Wake up people!! Vote this fool and his corrupt supporters out of office.

    November 18, 2011 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. yannaes

    Every one vacate America. The whole thing is screwed up and there is no way out with Obama. Second thought, maybe we might want to rid Obama from the American soil. He is a piece of work, for sure.

    November 18, 2011 at 4:02 am | Report abuse |
  10. Marco Gonzales

    Yeah ha !!!!!!
    Sound to me like bring back the Indians lets do these hole thing again,O and by the way meaby while we are at instead of "wanting all those cheap made in Taiwan and China items" meaby we should tax companies who benefit of the cheap labor over seas and bring back all those jobs. Is more easy said than done.

    November 18, 2011 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
    • yannaes

      I would have to agree with you on this one.

      November 18, 2011 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Failtelorn77

    If more folks here in the US would start growing their own gardens, we wouldn't need thousands of underpaid illegal migrants. There would be no jobs for them, we would still have our food available without an increase in price. People living in locations without property could easily join a co-op on the outskirts of town where property is available. Anyone at all who has ever grown a garden knows there's a ton of surplus to be given away, Let small family farms sell in markets without all the governmental red tape.

    November 18, 2011 at 2:16 am | Report abuse |
  12. brown

    hahaha! You got exactly what you deserve America!

    Your a bunch of mindless drones who continue to re-elect your CORRUPT public servants!

    Stop your complaining! It is YOU who is the problem.

    November 18, 2011 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
  13. Query

    A query for everyone pushing for immediate deportation: who will fill the void in the agricultural and construction industries? Even at 9.5% unemployment, how many people are willing to work for $5.45 an hour picking fruit under the hot Californian sun with no dental, health, or retirement benefits? Would those same people stay at that job when the economy rebounds?

    November 18, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Oh.. so 20 million illegals are picking fruit..

      November 30, 2011 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
  14. salty

    I agree wholeheartedly with all the others. If they didn't cross the border legally, they should be deported immediately. Any citizen of another country entering most countries without a legal visa would be sent home - if they weren't shot! Our government is seen as weak by the world for this reason and many others. The president isn't strong enough. I voted for him and I'm glad he was elected. He should stand up to the whining illegals and send them home. Don' tear families apart, just give them a non-retractable choice: 'Go home with your family member(s) or stay here. If you go visit later, you can't come back.'

    November 17, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sailingwindward

    By virtue of just being in the country illegally they are ALL criminals. We can put the NAFTA super-highway to good use, and send them back via that way.

    November 17, 2011 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  16. pafmis

    Having worked for the military overseas for over 25 years now, I've had to have a VISA to work in every country. If no VISA, I would be deported by that country. The same applies to this in my belief. If ANYONE wants to come to the U.S. get a legal entry VISA and you are welcome. Any other way, you are an illegal and should be deported period! Hire a fleet of buses and drop them off at the border. Think about how much money we would save on medical, food stamps, schooling etc. On the same note, I think an easier, faster, process should be put into place for those who want to enter legally.

    November 17, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • denise

      I would be willing to stuff as many illegals in my minivan and take them to the border. I will pay for the gas too. This would be another saving to the U.S.A.

      November 18, 2011 at 2:06 am | Report abuse |
      • Zoltan

        Well put by both of you. And yes, I too be very happy to pay for deportation. It is money well spent.

        November 18, 2011 at 3:20 am | Report abuse |
  17. Richard C Pirrello

    No amnesty.. I am tired of reading signs in spanish at Home Depot and Lowes ... Let them learn English or go home
    Stop Birthright Citizenship NOW !

    November 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
  18. Dom

    this administration is acting extremely irresponsibly, I wish Congress could get past the budget issues so they could pass a law against Obama enacting policy without approval

    November 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
  19. dnak

    They r criminals if they broke our immigration laws. That's it. They all need to get the h e l l out.

    November 17, 2011 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  20. idb

    "smart and effective?' I think not. "stupid and ignorant?" Yes. Illegal aliens are criminals, not immigrants. Comparing them with immigrants is equal to comparing a burglar to a welcome house guest. Both are in your house, the first came in without your permission and the second through the front door. The first needs to be removed immediately.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  21. HillClimber

    Any case involving illegal immigrants is of such a magnitude to invoke the strongest possible governmental reaction to assure the immediate and final deportation of those illegal aliens. My country has been invaded – it's laws ignored – and its people offended by these alien invaders. I demand now and always that we effect mass deportation of illegal aliens – eVerify implementation will prevent illegals from working, and RealID will prevent access to American social services – these two programs need to be implemented NOW. Get the illegal aliens off my land, off my roads, out of my schools, and out of my pocket. Obama: You Have Your Marching Orders.

    November 17, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      HillClimber wants a Krystallnacht. Obama has his marching orders!

      November 18, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |