The Obama administration has issued orders to immigration agents directing them to now ask all immigrants they encounter if they qualify for any of the deferred action programs. The agents must also review the files of jailed immigrants to see if any could be released under one of the programs.
What Is The Purpose Of This Directive?
The focus of this effort is to save the immigration service time and money when dealing with immigrants. Finding out if the immigrant is eligible for deferred action up front prevents putting that person in jail or starting a prolonged battle to deport that person, hopefully freeing up immigration agency resources for other priorities.
This change in policy is part of a larger training program that agents have been going through for the past few months. Agents are now supposed to classify all immigrants by priority for deportation action.
The first priority involves all immigrants who pose a danger to national security or the safety of American citizens, including those convicted of felonies, those apprehended at the border, or known gang members.
The second priority involves immigrants with multiple misdemeanor convictions, or those who have been apprehended before entering the U.S. illegally.
The third priority involves the apprehension and removal of aliens who have deportation orders dated January 1, 2014, or after.
Those that fall outside those priorities are to be treated on a case by case basis by immigration agents and their supervisors. They are supposed to take each person's situation into account when making a decision.
How Will The New Policy Be Enacted?
Immigration agents, who work with Customs and Border Protection as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, received training and materials related to the new policy.
The agents received a checklist of questions to ask each immigrant to help determine if that person is eligible for deferred action. The materials outlined common scenarios that agents encounter in the field and how to apply the new policies as part of their daily duties.
What Does This Mean For Immigrants?
The new policy will help prevent immigrants eligible for deferred action from getting caught up in the deportation process. It will also give them the ability to get into the DACA or DAPA programs, if eligible. Individuals who are in jail awaiting deportation, but are eligible for deferred action, should have a chance of getting released.
If you need legal assistance with an immigration-related matter, contact the Immigration team at Stockard, Johnston, Brown & Netardus, P.C. in Amarillo, Texas. Our experts can assess your situation and help you find the best solution. Give our office a call today.