New Steps in Deportation Policy Welcome
November 17, 2011
Real Changes on the Ground will be the Real Test of their Effectiveness
Washington D.C. — On November 17, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will begin to review the 300,000 deportation cases currently pending. ICE also issued additional guidelines to its prosecuting lawyers and will begin a nationwide training program for ICE personnel. The DHS review aims to prioritize the deportation of immigrants who are pose a threat to public safety or national security and deprioritize the deportation proceedings of immigrants with compelling factors as outlined in ICE’s June 17 prosecutorial discretion memo. The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum.
“We welcome the launch of the Administration’s long-promised review designed to reduce the backlog of deportation cases and prioritize resources. In this time of great concern about our nation’s fiscal health, it makes sense to focus valuable law enforcement resources on the deportation of individuals who are genuine threats to public and national safety.
Since DHS announced an emphasis on prosecutorial discretion across the agency in August, there has been an absence of clarity and guidance on its deportation prioritizations, which have so far been applied inconsistently and ineffectively.
The urgency for swift action and the need for thorough training cannot be overstated. Everyday, parents fear separation from their children and states across the country are pushing forward harsh immigration laws, some that go as far as denying access to basic water service for undocumented immigrants.
The announced deportation priorities are smart policy and if implemented correctly, could help lead to a practical and more fiscally responsible enforcement strategy. However, if DHS allows bureaucratic red tape to hinder the efficiency of the review, the promise of a more focused enforcement strategy will become only empty words on paper. We call for strident monitoring of implementation to make sure that stated policy goals become operational and effective.”