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Prosecutorial Discretion

Over the last several months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has made a series of announcements regarding its intent to eliminate low priority cases from the immigration court dockets and instead focus on its highest immigration enforcement priorities-national security, public safety, border security, and the integrity of our immigration system.

First, on June 17, 2011, ICE Director John Morton issued two memoranda encouraging the expanded exercise of prosecutorial discretion in all phases of immigration enforcement. Subsequently, on August 18, 2011, DHS announced the establishment of a joint DHS-Department of Justice (DOJ) working group charged with reviewing the approximately 300,000 cases pending before the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR) to identify candidates for administrative closure. Most recently, on November 17, 2011, DHS issued three documents detailing how the agency will implement the review process.

In January 2012, ICE completed two pilot projects of Prosecutorial Discretion review in Denver, CO and Baltimore, MD. This webpage is a one stop repository for all information pertinent to both this pilot program and Prosecutorial Discretion in general. We've recently added a podcast on prosecutorial discretion that is available to the public, so please feel free to share it with any interested parties. There are also two general practice advisories for practitioners as well as targeted ones for Denver and Baltimore. Finally, AILA and AIC are collecting cases involving prosecutorial discretion after November 17, 2011.  If you have a case or have had a conversation with ICE about prosecutorial discretion or the review, please fill out this survey:

ICE PD Survey From April to July 2012, EOIR will partially suspend non-detained dockets in seven immigration courts over four two-week periods.

  • Detroit, New Orleans, Orlando, and Seattle: April 23 - May 4;
  • New York: May 7 - May 18;
  • San Francisco: June 4 - June 15;
  • Los Angeles: July 9 - July 20


  • Podcast: Current Developments in Prosecutorial Discretion & Pilot Programs, December 13, 2011
    AILA President-Elect, Laura Lichter (Denver, CO), Melanie Corrin (Aurora, CO), Anna Gallagher (Washington, DC) and Greg Chen, AILA's Director of Advocacy, discuss prosecutorial discretion and the pilot programs in Denver and Baltimore. The podcast covers the recent November DHS and ICE announcements on prosecutorial discretion, the implementation of the review of pending cases in immigration court and how to request prosecutorial discretion. The podcast also provides guidance and issue-spotting for attorneys and immigration advocates in the non-profit field. Finally, the panel addresses how AILA and the NGO community are responding to these current issues.

Official Agency Memos & Announcements

Consumer Advisories

Guidance for Practitioners

Pilot Program- Denver & Baltimore

AILA Reports and Correspondence

Media & Advocacy Tools

Additional Resources