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Law Profs Write to Obama on Prosecutorial Discretion

September 04, 2014 (1 min read)

"As immigration law teachers and scholars, we write to express our position on the scope of executive branch legal authority to issue an immigration directive to protect individuals or groups from deportation.  We do not take a formal position on what steps the administration should take.  Rather, we offer legal foundations and history that we believe are critical to understanding how prosecutorial discretion fits into the immigration system. ...

In conclusion, we believe the administration has the legal authority to use prosecutorial discretion as a tool for managing resources and protecting individuals residing in and contributing to the United States in meaningful ways.  Likewise, when prosecutorial discretion is exercised, there is no legal barrier to formalizing that policy decision through sound procedures that include a form application and dissemination of the relevant criteria to the officers charged with implementing the program and to the public.  As the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has shown, those kinds of procedures help officers to implement policy decisions fairly and consistently, and they offer the public the transparency that government priority decisions require in a democracy." - Law Profs Letter, Sept. 3, 2014.