Updates About Immigration Court: Prosecutorial Discretion

In April 2022 Principal Legal Advisor for the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) Kerry Doyle issued a memorandum to guide DHS attorneys in exercising prosecutorial discretion. We are providing a brief explanation of the Doyle Memo to empower you through information.  

Prosecutorial Discretion is an important tool that allows law enforcement agencies to prioritize their cases. Immigration courts have more than 1.5 million cases pending across the country. The right use of Prosecutorial Discretion can help the U.S. make good use of limited government resources, get fair results for individual cases, and help DHS achieve its goal of managing the immigration laws of the U.S. in an efficient way. The DHS is now using Prosecutorial Discretion to enforce the immigration laws of the U.S. in a way that boosts public confidence. Under current guidelines, DHS focuses on the following three types of cases:  

Threats to the country’s safety. A noncitizen who has done or is suspected of terrorism or spying, or who is a threat to national security. Also, a noncitizen who has or is suspected of having violated people’s rights. For example, human trafficking or persecution. 

Threats to public safety. Noncitizens who have committed serious crimes are a top priority for deportation. DHS looks at each case individually and having a criminal record is not necessarily enough to be a priority for DHS.   

Threats to the security of the border. A noncitizen who poses a threat to border security is a top priority for deportation. This priority includes all noncitizens who are caught at the border or port of entry while trying to enter the U.S. illegally on or after November 1, 2020. The border security priority category only applies to noncitizens who are detained at the border or at a port of entry, not to people who are already in the country. This category also includes individuals who engage in immigration law fraud.  

In each case, there could be minimizing or unforeseeable facts and circumstances that make it more likely that enforcement action will not be taken. All the facts and circumstances should be considered.  

DHS attorneys are now exercising Prosecutorial Discretion in accordance with the case priorities listed above. If a case does not fall within one of the priories, DHS attorneys are encouraged to dismiss the case or in some circumstances to administratively close it. 

If you have an immigration court case, or need help with deportation defense, please call the J. Molina Law Firm at (469) 708-5800. You can also book your appointment here. We will make sure to help you and provide you the assistance you need to protect your American Dream!