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. bunnie

    I think we should kick out all the individuals who spew so much hate. They hate poor people, they other religions, and anyone who do agree with their KKK tiny minded additude. They are more of a problem then to this country than immigrants right now. This country won't be back on track until we realize humanbeings matter. And, nothing else is more important. And, why do other countries have refugees, and we have illegal immigrants? Mexico is a mess, and has been for a longtime.

    August 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      As far as I know we are not talking about refugees. We are talking about illegal aliens....12 million of them.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • John C.

      More like 20 million of them

      August 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • dude

      As far as refugees go, they become refugees because a war lord is about to declare genicide on them, and the countries that these refugees migrate to recieve aid from other countries to help feed and shelter them. We don't recieve aid from other countries and if this continues the US won't beable to support the masses without stopping aid to other countries, then the US would really be monsters. I am like most people in this chat room we don't hate immigrants, most of us have family members that are legal immigrant and know the process to come over here and think it isn't fair that others done take the same responsibility. Would you think it's fair that your neighbor got a free house just because they didn't feel like making the payments... no you would be outraged. Just an example.

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

      Someone needs to learn to write and speak the English language. Maybe Bunnie is illegal?

      August 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • mj

      Then maybe they need to fix that country instead of coming across the border and trashing ours...there are parts of Arizona south of the interstate that are not safe because of the thugs, drug dealers, & human traffickers

      August 19, 2011 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diver

      It's time that "12 million" figure was given an undignified burial.

      The real number is at least twice that.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jack

    Kick all 12 mill out!!!!!!

    August 19, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • bostoncreme

      – 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;
      really really ? What is your contribution besides luckily getting birth on this land. You sound like you chose your place of birth.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Diver

      Repeat until it sinks in: there are at least 25 million illegals in the US right now.

      There were 10 million back in 1980.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wow

    wow, u guys sound like TEA party members here, here i knew there was common ground we all could agree on
    I am a comservative and glad to see that cnners are all not like chris mathews go america lets take our government back from the idiots in washington

    August 19, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • michael

      everyone should keep in mind we are talking about people who are here illegally. people who cost this country hundreds of billions of dollars a year. if you think i sound like tea party fine. but the bottom line is we have a system for legal immigration that allows approximately a million a year in. is that a problem. no. the problem economically is we are dying. unemployment, rising crime rates and our dim wit government wants to dumify this country by allowing more illegals in. OUT they GO. both illegals and Government officials

      August 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  4. NOBAMA 2012

    Stop catering to these ILLEGAL people, you do not reward ILLEGAL behaivior...the only ones who want them are the politicians who wanty their vote to stay in office...send them packing as well...I cannot wait to vote nobama out of office in in a few short months

    August 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • rex

      Just the fact that you think these people could be able to vote shows how ignorant you really are, and even if they could the repugs are always trying to disenfranchise minority voters so it would just be a little retribution on the dems side

      August 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Cee

    I am so freakin' tired of hearing all the illegal lovers talk about why the US should not enforce its laws. If you do not like a law, work on getting it changed but bear in mind you need to have the majority of Americans behind you to get it changed. In the meantime, shut up and let our laws be enforced!

    August 19, 2011 at 3:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jim fixit

    focus only on those with criminal records? I believe they entered the country illegally...that would be a crime, would it not?

    August 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Diane

    Politicians who want the Latino vote.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Stue Pidasol

    Sick and tired of immigrants who can't speak the language. Learn to speak native american or get the hell out!

    August 19, 2011 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • jv333

      Speak native american??? Wow, last time I checked the native americans had there own language and europeans killed massacred them and brought over English.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  9. NOBAMA 2012

    Durbin should be tried for treason.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
  10. GoldenGate

    NOBAMA 2012 – hmmm.... You know that you have to be a citizen to vote, right?

    August 19, 2011 at 3:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • mj

      Not if you are ACORN LOL..really sad that some people think it is racist to require picture identification in order to cast a ballot...AAAARRRGGGHHH!!!

      August 19, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. DagnyTag

    Translation = Back Door Amnesty

    August 19, 2011 at 3:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. mj

    So most of the ones this will potentially help are the ones who cannot contribute...BTW have you ever been in a Walmart on payday...Customer service is packed with people wiring money out of the country... We are the only country in the world that does not enforce our immigration laws...The system definitely needs some reform...it is really difficult to get through the process but don't disregard the laws...change them

    August 19, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ralph

    You call this immigration reform? You cloak it with adjectives like "fairness"?

    I call it amnesty. I call it REWARDING CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR.

    If the administration wants to fast track major criminals for deportation; I support that.

    BUT I OPPOSE ANY FORM OF AMENSTY THAT REWARDS CRIMINAL BEHAVIOR. AND IT WAS CRIMINAL WHEN THESE ALIENS ENTERED THE USA ILLEGALLY!

    I also oppose amnesty to the so called "INNOCENT MINORS", for the simple reason that if they are awarded citizenship, they THEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO DEMAND a GREEN CARD FOR THEIR PARENTS!

    I support LEGAL immigration. I DEMAND ALL IMMIGRANTS to submit to the legal immigration process.

    I REJECT ANY AND ALL FORMS OF AMENSTY FOR THE CRIMINALS THAT VIOLATED USA LAWS TO ILLEGALLY IMMIGRATE.

    I DEMAND MY ELECTED OFFICALS TO BEGIN ENFORCING OUR EXISTING IMMIGRATION LAWS. ITS INSANE TO EXPECT ANYONE TO RESPECT OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS WHEN OFFICALS CONTINUE TO GRANT AMENSTY TO THOSE THAT VIOLATE IT.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chuck

    To Michelle
    For you posting some one that has a different out look on this matter than youn there is no need to call that person disgusting or ignorant. Now go back and help your husband back for a very expensive vacation that the tax payer have to shell out for Ms. Obama.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Wow, you've just proven my point. My objection is to the opinion that propagates HATE. So you're telling me if someone were spewing nazi hate dialogue that wouldn't be disgusting behavior? Any hate is contrary to what I believe and yes I find it disgusting.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wha?

      Nazi dialog? Please elaborate Michelle. Sure Ive read some crackpot remarks remarks that are racist but no more crackpot than yours.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  15. leeintulsa

    @stue: i agree in theory, but wouldn't 'native american' be cherokee, et al.? Can you speak cherokee?

    And if you don't mean that, do you mean bostonian, texan, californian, or what?

    August 19, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
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