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. jjheinis

    This backlash is occurring because the Anglos see Native Americans (e.g. Aztecs and Mayas) reclaiming their territories through a high birthrate, while East Asians (Indians and Pakistanis) and Orientals (Chinese and Koreans) who are better educated replace them in the workplace. The US has chosen to spend its money on the military to fight on foreign shores rather than to focus on its own people. There is little likelihood of this to change even though America is in decline due to its focus on "no new taxes" rather than a coherent domestic and foreign economic policy.

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

      You know you say the Native Americans are reclaiming their territory. If you truly believe that than the area should also belong to the true Native American tribes stuck on reservations whose lands were taken through bogus treaties. "Their territory" was signed away by Military General Santa Anna in exchange for his life. People need to re-learn their history because that so called Aztlan was given away by their own government through a binding treaty. Be mad at Santa Ana not America.

      And another thing, there really aren't many TRUE Mayans or Aztecs even left. Part of the goal for the Spaniards was to eliminate the natives by mixing the blood and producing mixed blood with the Spanish to spread Christianity in Mexico during the Conquest of Mexico. So, that mumbo jumbo about natives yet again is silly because most individuals from across the boarder are not Mayan/Aztec but also flat out of Spanish ancestry from the Conquistadors. I wish more people would actually study the history of Mexico or the Latinoamerican regions. There's too much confusion with it.

      BUT on that note, Americans are just as bad with their own history in this young country.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • me..

      Nobody is stuck on any reservations.. In fact.. in the 50-70s they were subsidised to get off the reservations.. by the federal government even... They do have the right idea though.. Only indians get jobs on reservations.. If this was the reservation of america.. only americans would be able to get jobs.. none of this h1b visa crap.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Foxhunter

    I know this is not politically correct but if you were deciding who could stay and go....as a rational person...would you want to keep the mentally ill?

    August 19, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • US Citizen

      Yes. A Country should be judged on how it protects its most vulnerable.
      Although you can't see much from any local, state or federal government in the US.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      there should be no decision on this matter-if they are illegal then they should go.I believe that is a law.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Except, they are not OUR most vulnerable. They are MEXICO's. Remember, we're talking illegal immigrants. Right?

      August 19, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • me..

      Newsflas: Not all immigrants are from MEXICO!

      August 19, 2011 at 4:13 pm | Report abuse |
  3. TK

    If correctly interpreted from the list of cases reviewed, even 'permanent residents' fall under the scrutiny of Immigration, then I've seriously lost faith in the system. I've been a legal permanents resident since 2001, with a green card assigned for my educational and job achievements, for the creation of jobs in the US, by helping companies grow – and I have done so successfully with over 200 jobs created, 80 alone in one company within 2 years, have been awarded government clearance to work on military programs (for 8 years now) and consider myself quite fortunate having lived in the US, and being able to start my own flourishing business, creating more jobs, and having paid my taxes with du diligence, and am now applying for dual citizenship, which will cost me a small fortune.
    I agree that illegals should not be able to take advantage of the system in the way they can and because how it is governed, (despite some making the case of lost revenues if sending them back etc. – I've never seen real evidence to support such argument), and they should not have the right to live in this country. But going after legal residents takes it a step too far, by losing tax revenues and taking away peoples jobs and their lives, since most of them have given up everything where they came from, to take the chance of coming to the US Legally.... Sorry for the long remark, but it's been a topic really irritating if you're effected yourself!

    August 19, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ariana Newcombe

      I don't think the DHS will go after the long-time lawful permanent residents, since they are LAWFUL. Taking this into consideration is just ridiculous!!! In your place I should not be worried at all! A foreign born US citizen.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sanjay01

    Nappy Janet is again licking the private parts of the Latinos to get votes for her master, Barry.
    Not one bit of concern for US citzens who are jobless, living in poverty, and whose earnings are being given to these law breakers.
    And those in this post who keep shouting "racism" at attempts to kick these illegals out ?
    The LATINO KU KLUX KLAN, La Raza, makes the white KKK look like saints.
    Latinos keep saying this country is only for them. But, surprise, no one says that is racism.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      Right. "La Raza" translates to THE Race. But, that's not racist? Huh? It's funny that American citizens are seen as so fortunate that we should just swallow whatever is put before us because virtually everyone else is less fortunate.

      This country was founded on personal responsibility and rule of law. Those who choose to violate it with their first step onto our soil have NO PLACE HERE. We owe them nothing. Conversely, THEIR COUNTRY, MEXICO owes them plenty.

      But, now that gang violence and drug thugs have consistently violated our borders, they are getting the attention they have deserved all along while the rest are still getting no attention paid to them, although they are probably relatives.

      It really is pathetic that in 2012, social security is threatened, thousands are without jobs and have lost their homes, and we still make room for roughtly 12 million illegals who have come to feel they have every right to be here even as they steal our SSNs, clog our ERs, bring back whooping cough and head lice to our schools, and live "under the wire" where lying is a necessary way of life.

      The US is going down the toilet. It really is.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Legal Immigrant

    Great Job O Bummer. Legal immigrants wait for 10 yrs to become citizens and illegals get 1st priority. i should have just become an illegal and with no criminal background citizenship would be easy cheezy. just another votebank stunt to get money from the cartels

    August 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lostraven

      Your comment hits the nail on the head with a BANG! Many like yourself who went through the long, painstaking process to gain citizenship are being shafted by this sort of thing. Several of my friends who are like you, legal immigrants consider this sort of thing an insult and a slap in the face.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just Me

      You should realize that it is not about giving them legal status it is about deportations which is a very costly procedure. He is just saying that they are going to push certain peoples to the top of the deportation list and certain peoples down. No where does it say that they will be given legal status.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • BigMike

      You say that like they have to stop reviewing legal applications in order to do this. Believe it or not, they can do both at once. It's amazing. They have entirely distinct groups of people to review pending legal cases and arbitrate applications for citizenship. But thanks for the false choice, it really helped the discussion.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gary

      Where did it say illegal immigrants get first priority over those who have been legally with regards to citizenship? It is simply prioritizing between the illegal immigrants who pose risk to society and those who don't which is perfectly fair. It never said that low priority illegals get pushed to the front of the citizenship line.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
  6. NRMD

    Again some DHS stunt. Those morons don't know how to impliment anything. First quick the DHS out and use that money sensibly creating some jobs. We can not progress and create new jobs unless we reduce our useless security everywhere. I am not kidding. They exhaust all our funds and waste our time.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Bellabiv Devot

    Remember when it used to be easy to tell illegal from legal.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. mike228

    Who does the new immigration law benefit? oh I don't know...maybe illegal immigrants?

    August 19, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  9. ChicagoJayhawk

    I get so tired of seeing people say that we should focus only on the "real criminals." Let's see, they break the law crossing the border illegally (criminal activity). They work, which requires valid Social Security IDs. Without them, they must use SSN's that do not belong them (criminal activity). Perhaps they do not file taxes (criminal activity). If they do file taxes using these fake IDs, they commit tax fraud (criminal activity) and perjury (criminal activity).

    I wonder what would happen if a US citizen used fake SSN IDs, didn't file taxes, or committed tax fraud and perjury. Do you suppose the government or IRS would just say it's no big deal, because we aren't "real criminals?" Somehow, I doubt it.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave

      Very well said,and this so true

      August 19, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  10. styrgwillidar

    Who does it help? Criminals
    Who does it hurt? Law abiding citizens, resident aliens, and those appling to come to the US legally.

    Selective enforcement of our laws leads to anarchy. Why should I obey the law on................ (fill in the blank with your choice), if others can flout immigration laws.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. sanjay01

    Nappy Janet, "Dick" Durbin (D-Illinois), Luiz Guitterez (Also of IL) are traitors, should be tried and put before a firing squad.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Karen

    Ummmm....looking at the "low priority" list, I have a couple questions:
    1. "long-time lawful permanent residents". What does this mean? If you are an illegal immigrant, where does the word
    lawful come into the picture?
    2. "pregnant or nursing women; minors and elderly individuals...." Who does that leave? If you don't deport the
    pregnant or nursing woman, then you won't deport their other children or husbands. If you don't deport the minors,
    you won't deport the parents of minors. If you won't deport the elderly, you won't deport the children they came
    over with.

    So, even now, with Americans having lost homes and jobs. With our economy in the toilet, all illegals are in continued
    "suspended" animation.... the minors getting student loans, the elderly getting social security they never contributed to.....AND THAT IS NOT TOTAL AMNESTY?

    3. THEN, WHAT DO YOU CALL IT?

    August 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • she...

      It leaves the drug dealers the rapists and the repeat offenders. DUH...

      August 19, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. she...

    First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a Socialist.

    Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out -
    Because I was not a Jew.

    Then they came for me - and there was no one left to speak for me.

    - Martin Niemöller

    August 19, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karen

      she: You comment "It leaves the drug dealers the rapists and the repeat offenders. DUH... " And when we send them home, they'll just stay there, right? And, none of the other 12 million illegals are any relation to the known criminals, right? They have no children growing up on our soil? No parents here? Really? Just a clean sweep of the baddest of the apples, right? How does one adopt such a myopic point of view?

      August 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dave

    "....negative factors that could lead officials to focus on certain cases. Those include:..."
    On that list, one thing I would add: Using a false or stolen Social Security Number, and tax fraud.

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

    IIts time to secure the borders,and try tp rebuild American jobs for legal Americans,I am sick of dragging these people on my back when I am paying taxes and trying to raise a family.Our borders are so easy to get in,and we need to put a end to flood of these people sucking our country dry of jobs,welfare and healthcare cost-its time to vote these people out.

    August 19, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • she...

      we need more taxes.. to create more jobs.. to fund small villages like oakridge tenn

      August 19, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I seriously suggest reading some facts on immigrants and the economy. They not only contribute to the economy but add more than they take from benefits. So when you say that you're sick and tired....of what? I do feel things should be done legally but what would happen if we deported 12-20 million? HELLO!!! much more expensive and futile. Lets try to make something positive out of something negative shall we?

      August 19, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
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