Prosecutorial Discretion could be a solution in your case

December 23, 2014

If you are currently in removal proceedings and facing imminent deportation, then contact an experienced immigration attorney at JRQ & Associates to see if applying for prosecutorial discretion could immediately close your case and stop deportation.


What is Prosecutorial Discretion?


In 2011, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it would not deport certain “low-priority” individuals in an effort to conserve the government’s limited resources.


This goal is accomplished through the use of prosecutorial discretion, which is the power ICE and other enforcement agencies have to decide which individuals to deport, and which immigration violations to enforce.  


Prosecutorial discretion applies to a wide range of enforcement decisions, so the type of discretion exercised will depend on what stage your case is in.  In removal proceedings, an exercise of prosecutorial discretion can mean that your case is dismissed – or closed – even if a final order of removal has been issued. 


How to Request Prosecutorial Discretion


In order to receive a favorable grant of prosecutorial discretion, you must first submit a written request with supporting documents.  ICE has the authority to review and close cases on their own, but most individuals in removal proceedings must seek prosecutorial discretion in a formal letter.


Factors Considered


The more positive factors in your case, the more likely that ICE will classify your case as “low priority.” Each case is examined on an individual basis and is subject a balancing of different factors. Some examples are listed below, but they are by no means an exhaustive list.  


Positive Factors:


  • Amount of time lawfully spent in the country

  • Entry into the country as a child

  • Pursuit or completion of high school or higher education

  • Past or present service in the U.S. military

  • U.S. citizen or permanent resident family members, with special consideration given to spouses

  • Strong ties to the community

  • Cooperation with Federal or state legal enforcement


Negative Factors:


  • Criminal history, especially serious or repeated offenses

  • Posing a national security risk or public safety concern

  • Long record of immigration violation, such as illegal re-entries or immigration fraud


When to Request Prosecutorial Discretion


Even if you have a strong case for prosecutorial discretion, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney at JRQ & Associates before proceeding.  A grant of prosecutorial discretion will end removal proceedings, but also comes with certain risks.  A successful request for prosecutorial discretion will result in your case being closed without further change in your immigration status.  This means that your presence in the U.S. is still considered unlawful, but that ICE has decided not to proceed with deportation at this time.   There may be better options for fighting deportation, such as filing an appeal or defending against the existing removal proceedings. 


Finally, if you have previously requested prosecutorial discretion and were denied, you can still ask ICE to re-examine your case with a showing of changed circumstances.  Contact an experienced immigration attorney at JRQ & Associates today to find out if prosecutorial discretion is the best option in your case.  

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The photographs on the homepage slideshow are attributed and used under the following:  Chicago River © flickr user Mindfrieze under licence CC BY-SA 2.0


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