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'Prosecutorial Discretion' a False Promise for Many

September 02, 2013 (1 min read)

"Obama’s promise to rein in the deportation of people without serious criminal records largely has been a failure, according to immigration attorneys and advocates.  In June 2011, the Obama administration announced new ground rules for applying “prosecutorial discretion,” or PD for short.  The policy would focus immigration enforcement on serious criminals and high-priority immigration violations while allowing vast numbers of families facing deportation to stay in the country.  That November, immigration officials went about the arduous task of reviewing some 300,000 pending deportation cases, applying the new guidelines.  Obama critics called the move a pre-election ploy to woo back Latino voters who had become disillusioned with record numbers of deportations under Obama.  In its first year, only 2 percent of the deportation cases reviewed under the policy were halted and closed, according to the New York Times.  Since then, the PD approval rate has risen across the country, but not by much. ... [I]mmigration attorneys say that in many cases they’ve encountered, the standard for PD approval has been set too high.  They say that people with minor offenses, such as driving without a license, using a false ID or misdemeanor assault, continue to be deported.  “I have been disappointed, frankly, with how high the bar is,” said Richard Coshnear, a Santa Rosa immigration attorney and member of the Committee for Immigrant Rights of Sonoma County.  “Every once in a great while, some deserving soul gets a reprieve, but many have their requests dismissed without even a reason given,” he said." - Press Democrat, Aug. 31, 2013.