Immigration Accountability Executive Action Was Announced By President Obama. Are You or Someone You Know a Beneficiary? (Part II)

After years, President Obama has finally announced his plan for Administrative Relief. It is not an “Executive Decision”. It is not an immigration Bill (although it is hoped that it may lead to one).The program will go under the name “Immigration Accountability Executive Action”.

The following is a short description of some of the highlights of another part of the President’s plan.

Enforcement Priorities

The Morton memo and several other policy documents on enforcement priorities are being replaced with an interagency memorandum that sets out new enforcement priorities. The victims of crime memorandum is not being rescinded.

Three groups

Priority 1 (threats to national security, border security and public safety)
• Aliens engaged in terrorism or espionage or who pose a danger to national security
• Aliens apprehended at the border or ports of entry while attempting to unlawfully enter the US
• Aliens convicted of offenses relating to participation in a criminal street gang or aliens not younger than 16 who intentionally participated in a gang to further the illegal activity of the gang
• Aliens convicted of an offense classified as a felony in the convicting jurisdiction other than a state or local offense for which an essential element was the alien’s immigration status
• Aliens convicted of an “aggravated felony”.

Priority 2 (misdemeanants and new immigration violators)
• Aliens convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses other than minor traffic offenses or state/local offenses where immigration status is an essential element
• Aliens convicted of a “significant misdemeanor” which means an offense of domestic violence, sexual abuse or exploitation, burglary, unlawful possession of a firearm, drug distribution or trafficking, or driving under the influence. Also, offenses that resulted in a sentence to time in custody of 90 days or more (not including suspended sentences). Note that these are very similar to the criminal bars in the DACA program.

Priority 3 (other immigration violations)
• Aliens who have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014. Individuals in priority 3 should generally be removed unless they have an asylum claim or another form of relief. Detention resources should be used to support the enforcement priorities. Field office directors should not expend detention resources on aliens suffering from serious physical or mental illness, who are disabled, elderly, pregnant or nursing, who are primary caretakers of children or an infirm person, or whose detention is otherwise not in the public interest. Otherwise, special permission needs to be obtained from the ICE Field Office Director who should contact their local Office of Chief Counsel for guidance. Individuals who don’t fit in to these groups, but also don’t qualify for IAEA will be eligible for prosecutorial discretion.

Like the Morton memo, various extenuating circumstances can be used in determining prosecutorial discretion including, but not limited to:

• The offense of conviction
• The amount of time since the conviction
• The length of time in the US
• Military service
• Family or community ties in the US
• Status as a victim, witness or plaintiff in civil or criminal proceedings; or
• Compelling humanitarian factors such as poor health, age, pregnancy, a young child, or a seriously ill relative.

These changes take effect on January 5, 2015.

Secure Communities being replaced by Priority Enforcement Program. The new program will continue to rely on fingerprint-based biometric data submitted during bookings by state or local law enforcement for crimes that fit the new enforcement priorities memo also released yesterday (see above). Because of Fourth Amendment concerns, ICE will replace most requests for detention with requests for notification. In the instan