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NYT: Prosecutorial Discretion for Immigrants Isn’t Meeting Expectations. Deportations Continue.

by Mahwish Khan on 06/07/2012 at 10:31am

The New York Times’ immigration-beat reporter, Julia Preston, wrote an important article today which confirms what we’ve known to be true: the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion program is not working:

After seven months of an ambitious review by the Obama administration of all deportations before the nation’s immigration courts, very few of them have been halted, disappointing immigrants President Obama hopes to court for his re-election bid.

Under the review of more than 411,000 deportation cases, the first of its kind, fewer than 2 percent have been closed so far. The numbers fall far short of expectations raised among immigrants, including many Latinos, when top administration officials announced they would comb through backlogged court dockets to close cases where the immigrants had strong family ties to this country and no criminal records.

Department of Homeland Security officials say the review has been slowed by bureaucratic delays with criminal background checks of the immigrants. They said many thousands more deportations could be suspended in coming months.

Immigrant leaders and Democratic lawmakers said the review was faltering because the administration was offering too little help to too few immigrants who would qualify. Even when prosecutors close their cases, immigrants are left in legal limbo, without immigration status or authorization to work.

This is a must-read article. We’ll be talking more about the inadequacies of the prosecutorial discretion program over the next few weeks. Let’s hope someone in the administration is planning to fix this — and fast.

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