The U.S. government is working really hard to keep the population of the country as legally as they can. That said the U.S. government has deported nearly to 400,000 people which establishes a new historical record working simultaneously with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the last 2011 fiscal year.
In June, the Government released prosecutorial discretion guidelines which require that ICE deport people who represent a clear risk to national security or have serious criminal offenses. Also, those people with serious felonies, repeat offenders, or individuals with a lengthy criminal record of any kind. In addition, known gang members or other individuals who pose a clear danger to public safety; and individuals with an egregious record of immigration violations, including those with a record of illegal re-entry and those who have engaged in immigration fraud will be prosecuted more aggressively and are considered "High-Priority."
However, it is believed that these deportations made by ICE are not being processed as they should. According to some research ICE has applied the prosecutorial discretion in a wrong manner due to the lack of credible reasons that support those deportations. Furthermore, these removals are falling into a "low-level category" instead of "High-Priority" which should be the major goal of the government and ICE. On the other hand, these decisions have sparked criticism from groups that defend immigrants' rights. Apparently, ICE is incarcerating thousands of people who have committed no crimes, immigrants who have only committed traffic violations or who called the police to report a crime. Despite this criticism, it appears that ICE is trying to deport as many people as possible ignoring its own policies and guidelines.
Prosecutorial discretion will continue to play an important role in immigration enforcement. Under the current circumstances, individuals who have attributes that our society values will remain vulnerable to harsh immigration enforcement unless ICE attorneys and employees do the right thing. ICE has taken an important step by issuing the recent memos on prosecutorial discretion and protection for crime victims. Now is time to follow them.