The review of some 300,000 deportation cases in the nation's backlogged immigration courts recently led to some confusing headlines after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that about 16,500 pending cases would be temporarily put on hold, which some translated into these cases being "shelved."
But that's not exactly how it works. As the review process continues, there are no guarantees for those so far deemed eligible for relief. And even for the few spared removal to date, the future is uncertain.
Here's some of the recently released ICE data on the deportation reviews, followed by an explanation of what it means. From ICE:
• In total, ICE has reviewed 219,554 pending cases with approximately 16,544, or 7.5%, identified as amenable for prosecutorial discretion as of April 16, 2012.
Are the prosecutorial discretion guidelines issued by the Obama administration last year having an effect on the number of deportation cases that the administration is pursuing?
A new Syracuse University report suggests yes, federal immigration officials say no, and some lawmakers are calling "amnesty" nonetheless.
First, the report: Issued in recent days by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University, the number of deportation proceedings begun in the nation's immigration courts between October and December of last year (the first quarter of federal fiscal year 2012) "fell sharply to only 39,331 — down 33 percent from 58,639 filings recorded the previous quarter," a drop of more than 10,000 cases filed. The report notes that since filings are typically lower at that time of year, the numbers were adjusted for seasonal drop-off. It continues: