Monday: Report shows slow progress in immigration case effort
BY GINNIE GRAHAM World Staff Writer
Sunday, July 29, 2012
Since August 2011, federal officials have closed 14 Oklahoma immigration cases using prosecutorial discretion, a legal tool emphasized by the Obama administration to decrease backlogs and focus enforcement efforts on dangerous individuals.
A report released by the nonprofit Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse shows that 5,684 cases closed under this program account for 1.9 percent of the total pending cases in the administrative immigration courts as of the end of last September.
Immigrants who qualify for prosecutorial discretion have their cases closed but not dismissed. That means their cases could be re-opened for deportation if the immigrant commits a crime or a new immigration violation.
Immigrants whose cases are closed are allowed to remain in the U.S., but they are in legal limbo. They are not granted legal status or given a path to residency.
Deportations are decided in immigration courts, which have judges provided by the U.S. Department of Justice and prosecutors hired by Homeland Security. Immigrants with pending legal cases may be tried by state or federal prosecutors before entering the administrative process.
Despite record numbers of deportations under the Obama administration, backlogs continue to grow, resulting in long wait times and stretched resources.
Read more in Monday's Tulsa World.