Christopher B. McKinney, Attorney at Law, LLC


The new DHS enforcement priorities

The Department of Homeland Security released a memo titled "Policies for the Apprehension, Detention and Removal of Undocumented Immigrants." The memorandum updates the enforcement priorities as outlined in a past memos about prosecutorial discretion.

In the memo, DHS states that enforcement and removal policies should "continue to prioritize threats to national security, public safety, and border security." DHS states that there will be more transparent reporting of removal statistics, include data that corresponds to the new enforcement priorities. 

The memo divides enforcement priorities into three tiers.

Priority 1 - Threats to national security, border security, and public safety. This tier includes the following classes, each considered a top priority: those involved with or suspected of terrorism, spying, or otherwise posing a danger to national security; those apprehended at the border while attempting an unlawful entry; those convicted or crimes involving participation in a criminal street gang and those at least 16 years of age who participate in illegal gang activity; those convicted of felonies, an essential element of which was the person's immigration status; those convicted of aggravated felonies. 

Priority 2 - Misdemeanor convictions and new immigration violators. This tier includes classes that are the second-highest priority for removal: those convicted of three or more misdemeanors, not including minor traffic offenses; those convicted of a significant misdemeanor, including domestic violence, and driving under the influence; those that have unlawfully entered or re-entered the United States after January 1, 2014; those aliens who in the judgment of the Department of Homeland Security "have significantly abused the visa or visa waiver programs."

Priority 3 - Other immigration violations. This tier includes those that have been issued a final order of removal on or after January 1, 2014. Those in this group are the lowest priority for apprehension and removal. 

Christopher McKinneyComment