ICE Putting Cases of Prosecutorial Discretion Back on Court Docket

Undocumented immigrants whose court cases had been closed may face rescheduled hearings.

When an undocumented person in the U.S. is granted what's called "prosecutorial discretion," it often means that deportation (removal) proceedings against that person are closed. The idea is that the U.S. immigration authorities have decided that the non-citizen is a low priority for enforcement, and that they will therefore direct their limited resources elsewhere.

With the harsher immigration enforcement regime that is developing under the Trump administration, however, rumors have been circulating that people whose cases were administratively closed are being put back on the court calendar. That means deportation is likelyif, after all, the person had any other reasonable legal remedy, he or she probably would have claimed it as a defense when deportation proceedings were first begun.

And in fact, there seems to be some truth to the rumor. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has confirmed to attorneys that it has been recalendaring prosecutorial discretion cases where the person was arrested for or convicted of a crime after the administrative closure.

Rumors continue, however, regarding local ICE offices recalendaring prosecutorial discretion cases where criminal arrests or convictions are not at issue. Immigration advocates are continuing to gather information on this matter.

If you have been granted prosecutorial discretion, you should keep in close touch with your attorney, and be sure to advise your attorney and ICE of any changes of address. Hiding from an immigration court hearing will not help your casefailing to show up will result in an in absentia order of removal (deportation), which is nearly impossible to undo and can result in your removal from the U.S. immediately after contact with an immigration official.