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Earlier this month, there were news stories circulating on the interwebs about an announcement Senator Durbin had made in a meeting with the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board. “I believe that if students are eligible for the DREAM Act, they should not be the target of deportations,” he said to reporters, revealing that he had been working with President Obama and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano “on that aspect.” All we were really told was that an announcement would be made “soon,” and that it would be “good news.”
Today, on the heels of some forceful actions protesting the much-loathed Secure Communities deportation program, the good news was announced. From Durbin’s press statement:
Today, in a letter to Assistant Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and 21 other Senators, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced that the Administration has established a new process for handling the deportation cases of DREAM Act students and other sympathetic individuals. If fully implemented, the new process should stop virtually all DREAM Act deportations.
“The Obama Administration has made the right decision in changing the way they handle deportations of DREAM Act students,” Durbin said. “These students are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and, maybe, Senators, who will make America stronger. 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. 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 gist of it is that there will be a working group that develops criteria to help identify what constitutes a “low priority removal case” that would be considered for prosecutorial discretion. This would be drawn from the “positive factors” from the John Morton, Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) memo on prosecutorial discretion that was released in June.
This is obviously a major development. We’ll have more soon. Stay tuned…