Today the Department of Homeland Security announced that it will review all incoming immigration cases. The announcement is online here. It’s as Orwellian as you might expect, promoting non-enforcement of immigration law under the guise of “smart” enforcement. This, the announcement dubs “identifying best practices to accelerate the apprehension and removal of high priority aliens by, in part, limiting the initiation or pursuit of low priority cases.”
Review of Incoming Cases: Beginning immediately, ICE attorneys nationwide will review all incoming cases in immigration court. This review, based on the Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum and guided by a set of more focused criteria, will help reduce inefficiencies that delay the removal of criminal aliens and other priority cases by preventing new low priority cases from clogging the immigration court dockets. This process is designed to identify the cases most clearly eligible and ineligible for a favorable exercise of discretion and will focus on cases appearing on the master calendar and those cases that have not yet been filed in immigration court. The initial test run of this review of incoming cases will last until January 13.
DHS is adding a layer of bureaucratic review in the name of increasing efficiency, and increasing prosecutorial discretion to allow more cases to be dismissed.
The DHS order does not stop there. DHS will also insert itself into all pending cases.
Review of Cases Pending in Immigration Court: Beginning December 4, DHS and DOJ will launch pilot programs in two jurisdictions to test run the process for reviewing all cases pending in immigration court. Over the course of the six week pilot, an intra-agency team of attorneys from ICE, USCIS, and CBP will review the cases on the non-detained dockets in the Denver and Baltimore immigration courts based on the Prosecutorial Discretion Memorandum and guided by a set of more focused criteria. During this time, DOJ’s Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) has agreed to shift judges from the non-detained docket in those jurisdictions to hear detained cases, in order to enhance the processing of such detained cases.
The review period is structured so that DOJ will get a say in how to make the amnesty move more quickly.
At the end of the period, DHS will promptly review that data and other implementation outcomes and, where appropriate, consult with DOJ to determine, on an expedited basis, the best methods to implement these processes on an ongoing basis nationwide.
Today’s announcement is the result of President Obama’s August 18th decision to bypass Congress on immigration “reform.”