21 Jan Biden orders immediate 100-day halt to deportations. Could you benefit?
Are you in deportation or removal proceedings? Have you already been ordered removed? Are you living in constant fear that you may be placed in removal proceedings?
There is great news: On January 20, 2021, after Biden took office, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo to ICE, CBP, and USCIS, calling for a 100-day halt or “pause” on certain removal proceedings.
The memo, entitled “Review of and Interim Revision to Civil Immigration Enforcement and Removal Policies and Priorities,” states the reason for this 100-day pause was “to enable focusing the Department’s resources where they are most needed.”
The Biden administration anticipates a surge at the Southwest border on thousands of Guatemalans coming up through Mexico. Because of limited resources, they want to focus their manpower to deal with that upcoming border crisis. Also, and most important, DHS is going to review its current policies and practices concerning immigration enforcement, including policies for prioritizing certain cases and exercising prosecutorial discretion. In other words, it appears the Biden administration will no longer follow Trump’s policy, which was strict enforcement, and go after everybody who is out of status.
As this memo states, “Due to limited resources, DHS cannot respond to all immigration violations or remove all persons unlawfully in the United States. Rather, DHS must implement civil immigration enforcement based on sensible priorities and changing circumstances.”
This memo instructs that during this 100-day pause, the enforcement priorities, or those people who will be targeted for deportation, would include:
- National security. This would include people who have engaged in terrorism, espionage, or pose a threat to the national security of the U.S.
- Border security. This includes individuals apprehended at the border or ports of entry while attempting to unlawfully enter the U.S. on or after November 1, 2020.
- Public safety. This includes people who were in jail for “aggravated felonies” and have just been released.
This 100-day pause and the establishment of enforcement priorities does not just apply to deporting or removing people, but also whether to even place them in deportation, or, as the memo says, “whether to settle, dismiss, appeal, or join in a motion on a case; and whether to grant deferred action or parole.”
This is great news, because not only is the Biden administration going to pause, halt, or suspend removals for 100-days, but they are also changing the way DHS enforces immigration laws by bringing back prosecutorial discretion which existed during Obama and focus on deporting primarily dangerous people.
If you are not one of the enforcement priorities, and you are in removal proceedings or have been ordered removed, you may want to see an attorney, because this could be a lifesaver for you. During Obama, when the government was exercising prosecutorial discretion, it was great! I remember in one case, a client was in removal proceedings, and the trial attorney called me up, asking if I would be willing to stipulate or agree to have their removal proceedings terminated. Of course! In other cases, a person may have been ordered removed years ago because they had no form of relief, but maybe now they have married a U.S. citizen who wants to petition them. It could be possible to have the government agree to reopen and dismiss the removal proceedings so the person can move forward. Under Trump, the government refused to agree to any of those things.
To be clear, this is not merely a “proposal,” like Biden’s proposed amnesty. This is in effect now! I hope this memo could benefit you or someone you know!
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