The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday that it would change the way it handles deportation cases of illegal immigrants to allow those who qualify to apply to stay in the country on a work permit, while prioritizing the cases of convicted criminals.
In a memo to a group of senators who support immigration legislation, Secretary of Homeland Security announced that the Department would use “prosecutorial discretion” and review the up to 300,000 deportation cases on the books on a case-by-case basis, so that students or those who served in the armed forces can stay in the country.
Many low-priority cases, Napolitano said, would be prevented from entering the system in the first place.
“From a law enforcement and public safety perspective, DHS enforcement resources must continue to be focused on our highest priorities,” Napolitano wrote. “Doing otherwise hinders our public safety mission - clogging immigration court dockets and diverting DHS enforcement resources away from the individuals who pose a threat to public safety.”
“The president has said on numerous occasions that it makes no sense to expend our enforcement resources on low-priority cases, such as individuals” who came to the U.S. as children.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), one of the senators who received the letter, who supported the failed DREAM Act legislation, applauded the decision in a statement. “These students are the future doctors, lawyers, teachers and, maybe, senators, who will make America stronger,” he said. “We need to be doing all we can to keep these talented, dedicated, American students here, not wasting increasingly precious resources sending them away to countries they barely remember.”