National Immigrant Justice Center
208 S. LaSalle St., Suite 1300, Chicago, IL 60604
NIJC Sues U.S. Government, Urges Obama Administration to Exercise Meaningful Prosecutorial Discretion
Heartland Alliance’s National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC) today sued the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Justice to demand the release of documents that would reveal the breakdown of the implementation of the Obama administration’s failed prosecutorial discretion initiative.
In June 2011, DHS announced the initiative would improve efficiency in an overburdened system, provide relief from deportation for men, women, and children who pose no threat to our communities, and focus resources on deporting dangerous criminals, recent border crossers, and egregious immigration law violators. However, only 1.5 percent of individuals in immigration proceedings have had their cases closed through prosecutorial discretion, including only 22 people in the region covered by the Chicago immigration court.
“The government must implement a meaningful prosecutorial discretion policy that corrects the injustices that are rampant in our country’s immigration system. Last week, the administration took a notable step when it announced that it will stop the deportations of DREAM Act-eligible youth. We remain concerned about the thousands of other immigrants—including the family members of DREAMers—who still need protection,” said NIJC Director of Legal Services Mony Ruiz-Velasco. “Until the administration’s original commitment to exercise prosecutorial discretion for ‘low-priority’ immigrants is fulfilled, families will still be torn apart. We must continue to hold the administration accountable for its promises.”
The lawsuit calls on the administration to respond to a Freedom of Information Act request submitted in October 2011, which asked for any information and internal correspondence regarding the rollout of the much-lauded prosecutorial discretion initiative. The request also asked for data about the number of people who have been granted or denied prosecutorial discretion.
NIJC is represented by pro bono lawyers at SNR Denton.