Who does new immigration policy favor?
Supporters of an undocumented immigrant show support during a deportation court hearing in Denver, Colorado in July.
August 19th, 2011
11:10 AM ET

Who does new immigration policy favor?

The Department of Homeland Security is going to begin reviewing all 300,000 pending deportation cases in federal immigration courts to determine which individuals meet specific criteria for removal and to focus on "our highest priorities."

Officials say immigration court dockets are clogged, putting public safety in jeopardy, costing money, resources and time. They want to see DHS enforcement resources diverted from illegal immigrants who don't have criminal records to individuals who pose a threat to public safety and national security.

So what does all this mean for illegal immigrants and what are the "highest priorities?"

In a memo, director of U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement John Morton lays out what circumstances should be taken into account when it comes to prosecuting immigration cases.

Morton describes some factors that should give cases a lower priority. Those include:

- veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces;
- long-time lawful permanent residents;
- minors and elderly individuals;
- individuals present in the United States since childhood;
- pregnant or nursing women;
- victims of domestic violence; trafficking, or other serious crimes;
- individuals who suffer from a serious mental or physical disability; and
- individuals with serious health conditions.

He also lays out negative factors that could lead officials to focus on certain cases. Those include:

- individuals who pose a clear risk to national security;
- serious felons, repeat offenders, or individuals with a lengthy criminal record of any kind;
- 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.

Morton also includes a general list of factors that lawyers, officers and other officials should consider when evaluating immigration cases. For a more detailed list of these factors read the document here (PDF)

soundoff (425 Responses)
  1. linda

    What about the people who work hard and don't get in trouble with the law !!! The president said when he made office he would help the ones that were here already !!! I don't see anything he has done for any immigrants

    August 19, 2011 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      It's a touchy subject for a lot of people and understandably so.

      However, there are legitimate problems. Namely, even the most docile and cooperative of illegal aliens are still illegal. That unfortunately is the bottom line. Now I don't personally follow the belief that if they break that law what's to stop them from breaking others. In my mind, that's nonsense. Legal citizens and residents break laws as well.

      I'm all for opening the books to a certain extent, I just want people coming in the front door and not through a tunnel in "granny's basement."

      August 19, 2011 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Help them get back home....
      Swift kick in the buttoncks would be nice.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      If you're here "illegally" you already broke the law and should be deported. If it was ok for actual productive immigrants like my grandparents to go through the proper procedure than then criminals and urchins that are here now should be held to the same standards. Only problem is the Dem's rely on 10 million illegal votes each year.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • eman2a

      ILLEGAL IS ILLEGAL!!!!!! Send them ALL back until they can come back LEGALLY.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stormy

      ALL illegals need deported, it is a crime!! First, ANY on any type of public assistance. STOP educating them on my dime!!

      August 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Long-time lawful legal permanent residents need not to be deported. However, long time hard-working tax-paying men will be deported. That's a comedy, the White House is famous for !

      August 19, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      They already broke the law by coming here illegally.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      If you are here illegaly you are a criminal. According to you I can steal your car and since I already have it, that should be ok with you.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      @Joe – Being in the US illegally is a violation. Stealing ones car is a felony.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. phyllis

    Obama to the world: come on in! We won't be enforcing our basic immigration laws! I voted for him before, but after this I am not sure about next time.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aubrie

      You and a WHOLE LOT of other people....

      August 19, 2011 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stormy

      Shouldn't even need to think about that one!

      August 19, 2011 at 2:35 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Ithink

    Melissa,
    Why in the world would I want to grow a pair??? I happen to be proud to be a woman. I take it you're not. I'm not bashing them for your information, I'm telling you that it isn't just field jobs they are taking. And I do think companies that hire illegals should be fined in jail. But pleeeeease get over thinking you have to a pair to have a voice!

    August 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      It's a metaphor. Maybe a dated one, but still, just a metaphor.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Michelle

    It was obviously an example. But the restaurant and warehouse jobs aren't paid much better.
    Maybe you should change your username to iDONT think. It's more appropriate.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. SAMBO

    This administration is run by kids who are intent on flash damage to our nation. This Obama fool has got to go

    August 19, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Motley

    What a sham of a president,.. he acts more like a dictator. This has sealed the 1 term presidency for him and he will not win Arizona with his attacks on our state over illegal immigration. Citizens of Arizona are sick of the burdens of illegal immigration and we are the ones with the largest burden. Arizona needs to be suing the federal government over this, costs associated with illegal immigrants and over lack of enforcement,...

    August 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JOE

    I went to Ellis Island in 2003 and as a history freak, I was thrilled and deeply moved by the pictures and the stories of immigrants who came to America in the 19th century to make America their new home. Some of these immigrants came here to escape religious or political persecution and most came here for a better life. The words on the Statute of Liberty says something like..."give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free." I must admit that those words always bring tears to my eyes because I truly believe this is what America is really all about. Subsequently, whenever we weigh in on the current immigration situation in America, I believe that we should always try to put our prejudices aside and try to remember that those words also apply to immigrants even here in the 21st century. I truly believe that American is a true melting pot of different ethnicity and cultures, races and religions and although we must control the flow of illegal migration, we must be careful not to hurt those people who truly love America and are here for a better life.

    Living here in the Tri-State area, across the Hudson River and a stone throw from New York City, the mecca of the melting pot, I've always marveled the international flavor of people in the region and I'm always tickled by locals asking tourists where are you from? But if you ask me, I'd say that you really don't have to be born in America to be American. I personally believe that If you believe in American values and principles, in American culture, democracy and way of life, then in my book you're an American.

    Although I'm a die hard Boston Red Sox fan, I always marvel people around the world as they stroll across the streets in their native land, wearing a New York Yankees teashirt. That thrills me because it simply says that there's a little piece of American culture in all of us. So with that being said, I would like to advise the critics on immigration to remember that their grandparents and great grandparents or perhaps generations much earlier came to the new world and to America as immigrants. And if you still have a problem with that, just do like I did in 2003 and take a trip to Ellis Island and see for yourself. Let's face it, my ancestors were slaves in America yet what I saw at Ellis island that summer brought tears to my eyes. Just go see for yourself. See if you can handle it.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Legallyhere

      Joe, my great grandfather came through Ellis Island. He went through the system, following all the LEGAL procedures, and became an American citizen. Your amblings about Ellis Island have nothing to do with the illegal immigrants who do not follow these procedures. If this was the case, then why are they coming into the country by tunnels, boats, tractor trailers, etc, sneakily?

      August 19, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brain

      Touching, but the issue is that many who are coming here illegally do not want to try to be apart of the American culture. They want special rules, they want America to conform to them by speaking their language. Also, here is a link to Ellis island history, the immigrants still went through inspections, both medically and legally. http://www.ellisisland.org/genealogy/ellis_island_history.asp

      August 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      regardless if they came through Ellis Island or any other immigration center, there is a difference between those that entered the US LEGALLY vs those that are here ILLEGALLY.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ray

      No argument when it comes to diversity, Joe. But Ellis Island was a LEGAL point of entry for immigrants.

      And living up in New England, I would bet you haven't heard the "the United States owes us" warped rhetoric that many illegals crossing our southern border espouse as they make their way into the southern U.S. There is a reason we have a monthly quota system for legal immigrants: the "dining room" is getting full and can hold only so many at one time.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Re: Brain

      You are so funny. Didn't California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas used to belong to Mexico and Spain. Everyone used to speak Spanish there. Texas and many southern states also used to belong to France...and they still speak some French Creo in Louisiana.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:17 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ithink

    I don't think so.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:20 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Charlou

    They want to give all the medica lcare and resources to Illegal immigrants but there are thousands of United States legal citizens that cannot get any kind of resource help, there are starving children and elderly who suffer becasue a woman comes her ILLEGALLY and have a child and automatically she is given what they call emergency medicaid togo into a hospital to have a baby and assoon as the child is born that child(even though the parent is illegal ) gets medicaid,WIC and food stamps, but if a citizen is working at McDonalds and make one cent overthe allowed amount they are denied services even though they are working and paying taxes, and all Americans have backgroungd checks to get a job but they can come get a job with know one checking anything where is the justice in this. This is one reason why so many states are going bankrupt they are using resourcesfor illegals. Where is the justice in all of this

    August 19, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. James

    Pregnant or nursing women, individuals who suffer from a serious mental or physical disability, and individuals with serious health conditions? All these people bring a huge price tag to the US if they stay in the country. The pregnant womes especially should not be allowed to remain in this country. All they will do is produce a "US citizen" that will be used as another excuse for why they should be allowed to stay. Additionally, they will require some form of social services that greatly exceed any financial benefit that they may provide to the US.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stormy

      I agree!! Pregnant women, need to learn to keep their knees together!!

      August 19, 2011 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brain

      Why should they when they get freebies, this applies to both citizens and non-citizens alike.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bell

      I agree! Maybe Bristol Palin should have kept her knees together....or at least used some birth control!

      August 19, 2011 at 5:12 pm | Report abuse |
  11. oldtimer

    Just another slap in the face of all job seeking Americans. There are not enough jobs to go around now, and too think they will be taking only jobs Americans don't want to sheer stupidity. ILLEGAL is ILLEGAL. This administration has shown time and time again they are not for the American people that elected them. This is Treason. Maybe it's time for Americans to pick and choose the laws they want to adhere too also. See where that will lead us.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Your Face

    I can understand how some people arent to crazy about the illegals here, but the people who just mention mexicans just hate illegals cuz theyre racist. They dont really hate them because of what the impact might be on our economy or other americans because they should know that not all illegals are mexicans. There are germans, central and south americans, hatians, and french illegals too. Some of you guys make real patriots look stupid..

    August 19, 2011 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      That's BS. A majority of the illegals in this country are from Mexico. I'm sick and tired of people like you playing the race card. You don't have a legitimate argument for your stance so you immediately start callling people racists.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Face

      I never even stated my position, im just saying that some pepole are making us all look stuupid by sounding racist. its just like how fox news makes real conservatives look stupid. Just for the record I have no strong opinion either way.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Legallyhere

    So, if I undertsand this correctly, one would not be deported because they are pregnant? Wow, there's a way to keep the population growing. Mental disabity? What? Legal felons get off on that one. Physical disabilty? Again, a lot of people take advantage of this with "hard to determine" issues like chronic back problems. Really lawmakers? We now have justifiable reasons to break the law? Our lawmakers only have one thing in mind.....their next re-election bid. Term limits will cure that, quickly.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wayback

    People of the United States, WAKE UP – we have to rid Washington of OBAMA and his fellow democrapps. Quit giving money to illegals. Quit allowing their children to go to schools, no medical benefits, maybe then they will leave the U.S.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kana

      It's not a Democrat problem it's also the Republicans. Neither party has the best interest of the country in mind.

      NO AMNESTY!!

      August 19, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  15. gmh

    Oh sure, if I get laid off I want to work in the 95 degree hot sun picking tomatoes and lettace. No benifits and no health care. I know of NO ONE wanting those jobs...........

    August 19, 2011 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brain

      I did. My sisters and I pick strawberries and tomatoes until we were told that it was no longer safe because the hispanic men were harassing the women of all races and the owner didn't want an incident, so all the women were not picked up for the next harvest.

      August 19, 2011 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
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