I was so excited when I heard of President Obama's Executive Order that grants some relief to the Dreamers - the young adults who entered undocumented the USA when they were minors but have not been able to pursue their dreams due to their continued undocumented status. The dreams, for the most part, are to serve in the military, to pursue higher education, to move on with life plans that the rest of us take for granted.
This is not by any means a permanent solution. It is not what Dream Activists have fought for years. They have engaged in civic participation to seek passage of the DREAM Act (Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors Act) and have fought tirelessly to obtain legal permanent resident status.
This is not a new law and certainly NOT what we need to fix a broken system. But it is something! The President issued an Executive Order that basically gives "prosecutorial discretion" to evaluate certain factors when detaining, arresting, processing, and deporting undocumented immigrants such as the Dreamers. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director issued the ICE Memo dated June 17, 2011 with specific guidelines. Please note, that this is NOTHING new, there were previous guidelines in place and use of "discretion" but it adds that among the things to consider are the following:
- the person's length of presence in the United States, with particular consideration given to presence while in lawful status;
- the circumstances of the person's arrival in the United States and the manner of his or her entry, particularly if the alien came to the United States as a young child;
- the person's pursuit of education in the United States, with particular consideration given to those who have graduated from a U.S. high school or have successfully pursued or are pursuing a college or advanced degrees at a legitimate institution ofhigher education in the United States;
- whether the person, or the person's immediate relative, has served in the U.S. military, reserves, or national guard, with particular consideration given to those who served in combat;
All of the above may be considered by Field Officers and Enforcement Agents as they consider the following:
- deciding to issue or cancel a notice of detainer;
- deciding to issue, reissue, serve, file, or cancel a Notice to Appear (NTA);
- focusing enforcement resources on particular administrative violations or conduct;
- deciding whom to stop, question, or arrest for an administrative violation;
- deciding whom to detain or to release on bond, supervision, personal recognizance, or other condition;
- seeking expedited removal orother forms ofremoval by means other thana formal removal proceeding in immigration court;
- settling or dismissing a proceeding;
- granting deferred action, granting parole, or staying a final order of removal;
- agreeing to voluntary departure, the withdrawal of an application for admission, or other action in lieu of obtaining a formal order of removal;
- pursuing an appeal;
- executing a removal order; and
- responding to or joining in a motion to reopen removal proceedings and to consider joining in a motion to grant relief or a benefit.
In reviewing the above in consultation with Immigration Lawyer Anayancy Housman, she warns "the final decision still rests with the Officer's use of his/her discretion, you still have to make your case and flag the Memo to the officer when requesting use of Prosecutorial Discretion". The above bullet points are taken directly from the Memo, but don't take my word for it, please read it carefully and consult your own lawyer.