ICE Memo Explains Why You Should Really Avoid Being Shuffled into Deportation Proceedings

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo from August 2017 shows restrictions on ICE attorneys that

  1. make it more difficult for those attorneys to grant reprieves for certain immigrants facing deportation, and
  2. orders the review and potentially the reopening of deportation cases that were “closed.”

ICE principal legal adviser Tracy Short authored the memo, which explains how ICE attorneys should handle deportation cases.

This memo, obtained by Buzzfeed News earlier this month, is yet another reminder that we are not in 2016, the farewell days of Obama administration, anymore.

Under the Obama administration, ICE attorneys felt encouraged to request the dismissal or indefinite suspension of deportation cases of immigrants who were not serious criminals or national security threats. Consequently, the administration directed ICE attorneys to look for qualifying cases and encouraged immigration attorneys to email ICE with requests for “prosecutorial discretion.” Obama officials believed their approach would focus ICE’s limited resources on those unauthorized immigrants with the worst criminal records, as opposed to those largely contributing members of society.

The August 2017 memo tells ICE attorneys they are no longer required to check the email inbox used to receive requests for leniency from immigration attorneys.

However, Short did provide that ICE attorneys could consider prosecutorial discretion for immigrants in certain circumstances, such as when the immigrant is a relative of a military member, or the immigrant has an obvious claim to status, or the immigrant has an “extraordinary humanitarian factor” present in her case. But, even in these situations, ICE attorneys must receive written approval from senior leadership in Washington regarding the prosecutorial discretion.

The memo also tells ICE attorneys to review closed cases.