ICE/INS Prosecutorial Discretion Memos

Prosecutorial discretion is exercised by the Federal Government in deciding who should be placed in removal proceedings, whether to agree that an immigrant is eligible for relief from deportation and whether to appeal the decision of an Immigration Court to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) or to appeal a decision to the Federal Courts. The current administration has been given enough funds by Congress to deport approximately 400,000 persons per year, yet millions of foreign-born persons have come to the United States seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Unlike the period of time between the founding of our country and the 1920s, there are now numerical limits on the number of persons allowed to immigrate to the US each year, and the demand far outstrips the supply of immigrant visas.

As one person opined: “Immigration is the sincerest form of flattery.”

So, absent immigration reform, the Federal Government must decide who is permitted to remain in the US, and who to deport. In 1986, during the Reagan Administration, the Immigration Reform and Control Act allowed over 3 million persons to legalize their status in the US.

In 2012, President Obama, frustrated with Congress’s failure to pass immigration reform legislation, issued an Executive Order which allowed over 800,000 persons without proper documents to work in the US if they had been brought to the US as children.

Prosecutorial Discretion Memos



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