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. AR

    Legal immigrant here. Those who don't respect the rule of law should be deported. Those Hispanics who support illegal aliens should be shunned and spit upon as racist bigots.

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

      Justice starts with YOU? In support of someone who crossed the border illegally in order to steal a job and livelihood from an American citizen? Let them go home and start cleaning up their own governments instead of bringing their corruption into the U.S.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  2. MyLogic

    "Morton describes some factors that should give cases a lower priority. Those include: – veterans and members of the U.S. armed forces;"

    Illegal aliens in our military?

    Probably shouldn't deport them?

    Is this serious?!

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

      Yeah it's a good program young adults that want to become citizens join the military and in a few years they are awarded their citizenship, learn a trade, and become a productive member of society. Unlike some native born citizens who live their life on the welfare system being a tax payer burdon.

      August 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • silvertop

      I question the same as you. Also added the second point about "lawful" long-time resident. He coined a new meaning to lawful. and he is the Director of customs and immigration. How sad is this? Lawful long time residents have green cards or valid visa or permits, they are not subject to deportation. What does "lawful" mean?
      (Couldn't find my post.)

      August 19, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldboldgold

      There are three problems with illegals being in the military... poor for national security, increases citizen unemployment, and poses potential civil rights violations of "foreigners" and whether they are forced to put their lives at risk for papers. It's a bit of a dirty system all around. Something like the Irish signing up to defend Britain during WWII, in order to get "freedoms" from their controlling government... and got put wholesale into the front lines to "protect" British soldiers. It was a huge disgrace. Whether this is done or not it leaves an opening for accusation.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • silvertop

      I would think that the armed services would have protocols. If upstanding young men are accepted, then there must be a legal status given, thus they are not deportable. But if the armed forcces take in illegals, (because they are not supposed to ask status?) and let them alone after discharge who are subject to deportation, then we are pretty messed up on the top levels. Yikes!

      August 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Illegals serving in the military in return for papers is wrong on so many levels.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      Green card holders are definitely subject to deportation. Visas can be revoked at any time.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • dude

      There are background checks that takes place before a non-citizen or anyone for that matter is allowed to serve, so if there is a criminal record they not allowed to serve. And illegals are not allowed to serve in the US military, people from their native country apply to join the US military. So how is this poor for national security, increase citizen unemployment really? You sound like a conspiracy theory moron, and the US military, in this day and age, doesn't use people in their own service as human shields. Way to disgrace the US militray jack hole.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Dont forget we need our military to train the next generation of zetas.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hmm

    Illegal aliens that....are "long-time lawful permanent residents"?...that makes no sense..if they are "lawful permanent residents"...then by definition they are not "illegal aliens"

    August 19, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldboldgold

      1984 thinkspeak... lies designed to mislead.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJ

      See Suman's case below. The exception would apply to lawful residents who fall out of status for some reason. Folks that are here on work visas generally have to maintain employment. If they lose their job, they become illegal 10 days later. It certainly makes sense to cut these people some slack as losing a job is not the same as sneaking in.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Wrong KJ. Suman is here legally. He is a long time legal resident. Not a long time illegal resident.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJ

      Tom, he is here legally now. But if he lost his job, which can happen overnight these days, he would be here illegally. The new rules would give him credit for coming and staying legally before losing legal status.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Agreed KJ. But Suman is here and has been here legally. You must make that distinction. There is a no comparison between Suman who is here and has been here legally with a visa and the millions of those who cross our borders illegally and reside in our country illegally. You are basically insulting him by the comparison.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Suman

    I come here 10 years on h1b visa from India. I work hard, we have our children here and I have house and pay taxes. I have been trying for 4 years now to get green card. They keep saying back log, back log, back log. On an h1b if I loose my job I have to go back to India. Now US give these people free pass? I have worked hard to be here why cant I get a free pass?

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

      Suman, these rules benefit particularly people like you. Let's say you lost your job. You would be out of status and would have to return to India. However, as a long term lawful resident, you would now be able to take advantage of prosecutorial discretion and ask not to be deported. Makes sense?

      August 19, 2011 at 4:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • me..

      You should probably go back to India so I can get a job..

      August 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Suman – Thank you. You are they type of immigrant we need. If you lost your job while on your h1b you would obey the law and return to India. I applaud you and hope you get your green card.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MelC

    Just another campaign ploy. He couldn't get immigration reform through Congress, which would win back the Latino vote, so our president allows laws to be set aside and burden our communties with illegal immigrates to achieve the same end. We need to stop spending tax dollars supporting illegals in our communities and enforce our laws. I'm so glad we're keeping the sick and pregnant women. That's just what our overwhelmed hospitals need!

    August 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • oldboldgold

      Not to mention the elderly, when the same government is saying we must have social security reform because they stole money from the self-funded social security system. Sure, starve granny and gramps so illegal aliens can stay and suck up social services.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RM

    Suman, the reason you are put in the back of the immigration bus is because you're not a potential voter block for the Democrats.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • leeintulsa

      Indians vote republican? Another racist chimes in..

      August 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ben

      hmmm, Suman arrived 10 yrs ago, so 8 of those years were under W's rule. I'm tired of these same talking points that don't help solve the issue, but just serve to divide us.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. oldboldgold

    DEPORTATION NOT UNIFICATION.

    Please flood your President and Congress with emails opposing this new amnesty. Tell them to enforce immigration laws and lower the increase in legals back down from 38 million to the 6 million accepted by Canada.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • me..

      we are alot bigger than canada..

      August 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • The better me

      Hate to tell you me, but Canada is "bigger" then the USA.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Buttered Me

      Maybe if you are counting seals and polar bears.......

      August 19, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Badeley-Bent

    This is a defacto amnesty and if you think the annual illegal immigration is high now, you ain't seen nothing yet!

    August 19, 2011 at 4:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • me..

      its not changing anything.. its just organizing the outflow into the most dangerous first.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jerry

    Does CNN really have to ask "who do you think these behind closed doors/last-minute decisions will help?" Come on CNN! Get real!!! Guess what!? It definitely will not help the the people in this country illegally. Your man, President NObama pulled yet another fast one. The president, and my fellow Democrats in general, are going to be asking for payback from any of these individuals that are somehow, both legally and illegally, able to vote.

    As if President NObama and the Democrats had not already sold America to the highest bidders. Funny, the president pulls another fast one and to add insult to injury to American voters, he then goes on vacation with a king's entourage to one of the ritziest places in the world. That is, after gallivanting (politicking) trough a number of key states in a an over a million dollar "Kingly" motor home. Of course, all of this at taxpayers expense. This president has no, and will never have any shame or respect for the American populace.

    America, don't forget 2012!

    August 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJ

      Illegal voting is a problem that is largely made-up by people like you. I have never heard of any reports of large scale voting scams.

      Riding around in a million dollar RV is cheaper than flying. And the whole purpose of elections is for both parties to be able to go and campaign. Your GOP/TEA candidate will also get his or her RV – they bought two. Do you want the PUSA ride greyhound or what? Horse and buggy? Walk?

      August 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  10. leeintulsa

    I heard most illegals aren't mexicans. They came legally and overstayed their visas..

    August 19, 2011 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • me..

      Lotsa contractors from india too.. came when aol sold us all out and moved over there with 18 thousand other companies into dubai.. hired a buncha locals for cheap brought them all back here and gave them our jobs with their working visas so we all lost our houses.. I think we should give them permits.. i think it should just be illegal for the companies to hire them.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Selfish Meme

      Oh yes, I see whole cities invaded by over staying Visa Indians. Please. Its a problem but I rather be around Indians who don't go around pumping out kids after kids, within short time of each other, because thats how they qualify for US government checks, than people that DO.

      Indians don't raise gang bangers, thugs, or people that go around hating the USA while living in it and reaping its benefits. They work in my IT department, they are smart, kind, truly humble, peaceful, cool people. I want MORE people from India! More! More Asians! More Hungarians! More Africans! I'd LOVE to see more of them. Its a totally different mentality from the ones that come from you know where and I'm not talking Central or South America, totally different.

      Where do you live? Thats what I thought.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  11. me..

    or at least heavily taxed if they do work..

    August 19, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  12. me..

    Now we need the Immigration TAX.... people working on working visas need to be taxed at 40 %

    August 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  13. tp

    Ridiculous – illegal is illegal whether they are law abiding or not. There should be no picking and choosing. This is not fair to the people who followed the rules and entred the country the right way.If you are illegal you need to go.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  14. The Selfish Meme

    I live in the communities where illegals live. I see things and hear things from those people that would appall you in terms of how they cheat the USA, how they cheat those that help them, those that hold up signs for them, and those that hire them to what racism they bring to how even the MOST humblest of humble actually raise thugs and criminals and stupid anti-USA-US citizens. ANd most are if not all, from Mexico. ANd I look at photos like the one above and I say to myself, I don't see them living here, or really knowing the culture that exists around me. They don't know, neither do YOU.

    But then what does he do – he helps illegal immigrants because of activists hell bent on abusing the USA benefits they hand out to them. Like free education, WIC checks, welfare. Illegals purposely have children here! Purposely! In order to not be "torn away". They pump out kids like you some desperation. Then, they don't raise them well and make them Mexican nationalist so they love more Mexico than the USA. How can people contribute to the USA or "become doctors or scientists" when they don't care about the country they were born in?

    Those are the things that really make me frustrated, like Obama doesn't know this? Should he move into neighborhoods so he can really see? Should you?

    HOW does this actually help the economy, get more jobs rolling. Its as if President Obama wants to help illegal immigrants rather than Americans. And his record on helping African Americans is horrid, non-existent. In his speeches, he has like one or two token African Americans sitting there. Thats it. Jerry Brown quietly passed (he's California governor) a law or revised something that gives illegals full access to financial aid and government grants. I'm like is this a pro-illegal administration? Are they sneaking things like this under us? For votes or for business that hire illegals? Its like wha?!

    I'm just besides myself on this. And the other options suck too. I don't know WHAT to do as a voter now. I hope I do in 2012, but based on this, I think I know.

    August 19, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • me..

      We need their tax money.. If we turnt hem into tax payers they can pay us.. DUH!

      August 19, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  15. me..

    Legal Immigrant = more tax money.. More tax money = more governtment jobs.. morte goverment jobs = more tax money more tax money = lower taxes for everyone.. DUH!!!

    August 19, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Selfish Meme

      I get that. But at the expense of whole cities, whole communities, the quality of life, all going to ruin?

      And trust me, they will cheat their way out of paying taxes. You reap what you sow.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • KJ

      Selfish, I live in NYC. 40% of our workforce is immigrant. And we are the safest large city in the US and one of the greatest cities in the world. Keep the hardworking, tax paying immigrants and kick out the thugs. That's what this directive is doing. It is what made our city great.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      Hey me – You should vacation in Yakima Washington to see how awesome illegal immigration has been for that community. Have fun. Might want to bring your bullet proof vest though....and dont make eye contact when they make rude comments about your daughter.

      August 19, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • me

      you need some serious counseling.. you have issues.. serious southern bigoted issues.

      August 19, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
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