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ICE deportation reviews by the numbers, updated

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A post last month broke down the Obama administration's deportation case reviews by the numbers though mid-April, looking at how many cases had been reviewed and how many had been shelved, which wasn't many.

With the bulk of the roughly 300,000 initial reviews of pending cases completed by now, much the same holds true. Of these, a little more than 4,000 deportation cases have been administratively closed or dismissed since the reviews began in November, although immigration officials say there will be more.

Meanwhile, about 111,000 newly filed cases are also being reviewed as they are added to the immigration court caseload. The idea behind the reviews, announced last summer, is to weed out "low priority" immigrants who could be eligible to stay under new prosecutorial discretion guidelines established by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Here are the latest deportation review numbers at a glance, updated through May 29:

  • Non-detained deportation cases reviewed = 232,181

  • Non-detained cases identified as amenable for prosecutorial discretion = approximately 20,608 (9 percent)

  • Cases that ICE officials say will be offered prosecutorial discretion, provided there is a clear background check = 20,608

  • Of these, cases administratively closed or dismissed so far = 4,363

  • Detainee cases reviewed = 56,180

  • Detainee cases identified as amenable for prosecutorial discretion = approximately 40 (less than 1 percent)

  • People who have declined offers of prosecutorial discretion = 3,998

  • Offers of prosecutorial discretion still under consideration by individuals, or still undergoing a background check = 12,247

A little background: The “low priority” immigrants defined in the prosecutorial discretion guidelines established by ICE last year include people who have a clean record, have close ties to the United States, have lived in the U.S. since they were minors, have served in the military or are part of a military family, have or are attempting a college education, and so forth.

But regarding the cases deemed "amenable" so far, this means they have only been identified as meeting the criteria. While it’s good news for those identified as eligible, there are still hoops for them to jump through, such as producing additional documentation and background checks. These cases could be at any stage in the process, and not all will make the cut. Even for those who do, there's no guarantee they can stay permanently, as these individuals are not granted legal status, and their deportation cases can be reopened.

From ICE's latest update, a list of who has made the cut so far among the 4,363 cases that have been administratively closed or dismissed:

  • 10 individuals who are a member in good standing of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, an honorably discharged veteran of the Coast Guard or Armed Forces of the United States, or the spouse or child of such a member or veteran;

  • 303 individuals who are a child, have been in the United States for more than five years, and are either in school or have successfully completed high school (or its equivalent);

  • 290 individuals who came to the United States under the age of sixteen, have been in the United States for more than five years, have completed high school (or its equivalent), and are now pursuing or have successfully completed higher education in the United States;

  • 33 individuals who are over the age of sixty-five and have been in the United States for more than ten years;

  • 91 individuals who have been the victim of domestic violence in the United States, human trafficking to the United States; or of any serious crime in the United States;

  • 23 individuals who have been lawful permanent residents for ten years or more and have a single, minor conviction for a non-violent offense;

  • 138 individuals who suffer from a serious mental physical condition that would require significant medical or detention resources;

  • 3,302 who have a very long-term presence in the United States, have an immediate family member who is a United States citizen, and have established compelling ties and made compelling contributions to the United States; and

  • 173 individuals who constitute a very low enforcement priority as defined by Director Morton’s June 17, 2011 memorandum on prosecutorial discretion.

Interestingly, as the latest numbers note, some people have reportedly declined offers of prosecutorial discretion. How it was explained in a recent New York Times piece:

Many immigrants believed they had strong arguments to present to judges, lawyers said, and they were discouraged by the prospect of staying in the country without being able to work legally or obtain a driver’s license and other documents.

“We have been telling the administration they are not going to get good results, because people are not going to take this offer,” said Gregory Chen, director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

There's more background on the reviews in this recent post.