AILA: Implementation Will Show if New ICE Guidelines Go Far Enough
Washington, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) welcomed new guidelines announced by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas which would shape actions by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents across the country.
AILA Executive Director Benjamin Johnson noted: “These guidelines are an important step in what has already been a challenging journey to reform an immigration enforcement system that does not serve our nation well. These new guidelines reflect an important shift in understanding that the exercise of prosecutorial discretion is not just about the efficient allocation of resources, it is essential to the pursuit of justice and fairness. They recognize ‘the fact that the majority of undocumented noncitizens who could be subject to removal have been contributing members of our communities for years’ and they call upon immigration enforcement personnel to do a full review of the individual facts and circumstances underlying the circumstances of each case. These are welcome changes, but the new memo adopts a ‘trust but verify’ approach to the implementation of these guidelines that will be the critical lynchpin to its success. The training, supervision, data gathering and analysis, along with case reviews that the memo contemplates are all important, but strong leadership and a real commitment to applying these new guidelines will be needed for a true difference to be seen.
“AILA stands ready to work with the administration to guarantee that principles underlying this memo are reflected in the actions of ICE agents and officials. Our country needs and deserves nothing less.”