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Is there a new Amnesty Program of illegal immigrants?

Is there a new Amnesty Program for illegal immigrants?

On August 18th, 2011 the Obama Administration announced an implementation of a new policy that will potentially allow thousands of immigrants to dodge deportation.  According to the new rules, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will now primarily focus on immigrants who have committed serious crimes or pose a threat to society.  Whereas immigrants who are considered “low priority” will be permitted to remain in the country and apply for a work visa.  However, this program is NOT about granting legal status nor is it granting amnesty.  The main purpose of this program is simply to lighten the workload of USCIS, CBP, and ICE agents, as well as provide more consistent decisions about who is placed in removal proceedings.

What the new policy is not:

            The new prosecutorial discretion policy is NOT an amnesty program. 

            The new policy is NOT about granting legal status.

            The new policy is NOT something that you can sign up for.

What the new policy is:

Creating a group of government attorneys to review all cases already pending before the Immigration Courts.

 If these cases are found to be considered “low priority” they may be administratively closed. 

 If they are found to be considered “high priority” they will be prosecuted more aggressively.

In the future, immigration authorities will review the cases of individuals before they are placed in removal proceedings. 

Those that are “low priority” may not be referred to the immigration court.

There is no guarantee or procedure yet for how “low priority” cases will be able to apply for Employment Authorization.

There are no set guidelines yet available by the Obama Administration that will help us understand how cases are determined to be low or high priority.

The August 18th, 2011 announcement was just preliminary and nothing more.  Nothing has been implemented yet.


As always, the best course of action is to consult an immigration attorney who can review your case and help you make the best conscious decision for your particular situation.  Contact Scales of Justice, LLP for your free consultation regarding your immigration case. 

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