by Bano Itayim, Attorney and ImmigRanter at Slowik & Robinson, LLC
At a time when immigration is a hot button issue, and the nation focusing on who will become the next president, the Obama Administration has deported nearly 400,000 immigrants since 2009. The goal – to deport the bad guys – the criminals. While the administration is focusing on the bad guys, who is focusing on the good guys? Under the Obama Administration the application of the laws governing immigration is harsher than they have ever been. However, the federal government is exercising its control over state authority by emphasizing the use of what is called Prosecutorial Discretion.
Prosecutorial Discretion is exactly what it sounds like: prosecutors using their discretion on deciding which cases to bring before the courts. In this situation, the prosecutors being Immigration and Customs Enforcement attorneys. They choose whether a case should go forward at all, or to what extent the letter of the law should be followed. In June 2011, a memo was issued by the Chief Legal Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), John Morton, basically reminding ICE officials of their duty to use good judgment in the prosecution of immigration cases; however, nothing more became of that directive.