A new report from Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC) finds that, under Trump, prosecutorial discretion in the immigration courts “has largely been abolished.”
In the last years of the Obama Presidency, prosecutors were empowered to prioritize their caseload by public safety threat and national security risk, closing cases of individuals who posed no threat and had strong community ties.
This practice changed abruptly under the Trump Administration. Administrative closures of cases pending in immigration court averaged around 2,400 per month during the first five months of 2016, but fewer than 100 per month under Trump.
While the TRAC report only covers cases pending in immigration court, the findings mirror our experience in other areas of the deportation machine. For example, after granting Jesus Lara’s stay of deportation every year since 2012, the Detroit ICE Field Office abruptly denied his renewal in 2017 – despite the fact that Jesus’ connections to the United States have only grown stronger with each passing year.
Said Lynn Tramonte, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:
Despite working legally, paying taxes, purchasing a home, and playing a central role in raising four young children, Jesus Lara was deported to Mexico today, because Detroit ICE and DHS refused to exercise discretion.
The new TRAC report makes it clear that Secretary John Kelly’s DHS is implementing a policy of widespread mass deportation. Rather than focusing in on common sense targets, they’re going after anyone and everyone they come across, with no consideration for the contributions that immigrants are making or the lives DHS is destroying.
Read the TRAC report here.