On April 3, 2022, the ICE Principal Legal Advisor issued guidance to ICE attorneys on how they should be carrying out the September 30, 2021 prosecutorial discretion memo (Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law). This memo helps reiterate the prosecutorial discretion that is given to ICE attorneys and emphasizes that they should be analyzing cases under what is a priority case versus what is a nonpriority case.
The memo to ICE attorneys emphasizes the fact that there are over 1.5 million cases in immigration court and exercising prosecutorial discretion is part of their duty, not just something that can be done in theory. The guidance provides, as well as promotes, the specific actions that ICE attorneys should be taking in nonpriority cases including the following: 1) deciding not to issue an NTA; 2) agreeing to terminate cases; 3) agreeing to administratively close cases; 4) stipulating to relief, continuances, motions to reopen, and bond requests.
If followed appropriately, this guidance is likely to significantly reduce immigration court backlogs and provide greater opportunities for relief to those facing proceedings or those that are currently in proceedings.