Published on: Friday, June 4, 2021

The Biden administration is giving immigration prosecutors more discretion over which cases to pursue or even drop, a move that could limit the new cases funneling into the overwhelmed immigration court system (article available here).

A memo to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prosecutors allows the agency's lawyers to drop cases against green card holders and those who are elderly, pregnant or have serious health conditions or have been in the U.S. from an early age. It also advises lawyers to weigh other “compelling humanitarian factors,” like whether a defendant is a caregiver or the victim of a crime.

“Prosecutorial discretion is an indispensable feature of any functioning legal system. The exercise of prosecutorial discretion, where appropriate, can preserve limited government resources, achieve just and fair outcomes in individual cases, and advance the department's mission of administering and enforcing the immigration laws of the United States in a smart and sensible way that promotes public confidence,” chief ICE attorney John Trasviña wrote in the memo.