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INS Field Guidance on Prosecutorial Discretion

Cite as "AILA InfoNet Doc. No. 00050571 (posted May. 5, 2000)"

DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE

IMMIGRATION AND NATURALIZATION SERVICE

STATEMENT

APRIL 18, 2000

Immigration Legislation

The Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) has the responsibility to enforce our nation's immigration laws, provide immigrant benefits, and naturalize new citizens. INS is aware of the call for some changes in the current immigration law and believes that many of the issues raised are best addressed through the legislative process. INS supports legislation that would remove some of the harsh consequences that have resulted from enforcement of changes made to the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) in 1996.

In the interim, INS currently is preparing field guidance to address the use of prosecutorial discretion when enforcing the INA and determining when to place an individual in removal proceedings. In cases where prosecutorial discretion may be warranted, INS reviews the individual facts and circumstances before making a decision.

In cases where a non-citizen has voted, INS has discretion not to move forward with removal proceedings and may naturalize the person if he or she is otherwise eligible to become a citizen. Currently, INS is working on guidance to the field on appropriate procedures for handling cases involving naturalization applicants who may have been ineligible to vote when they voted.

– INS –