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Homeland Security Implements New Program for Deportation Cases

The Department of Homeland Security issued new guidelines for a nationwide training program that will help immigration agents close deportation cases, expediting the process of deporting illegal immigrants convicted of serious crimes. The training program is meant to assist immigration agents in wisely choosing whether to undertake a deportation.

“We are empowering the attorneys nationally to make them more like federal prosecutors, who decide what cases to bring,” said a senior Homeland Security official who did not want to be named.

The first stage was a review of deportation cases brought before immigration courts, including a test-run of the program that was completed in January.

The second stage was a six-week pilot project that also ended in January. Immigration lawyers in the immigration courts of Baltimore and Denver examined their dockets for cases where immigrants have been arrested for deportation but not kept in detention during the process of their case. Several ICE attorneys reviewed approximately 8,000 pending removal cases in Denver and concluded that of those pending removal cases, at least 1,300 should be administratively closed.

According to a document by the Homeland Security, the program is meant to “reduce inefficiencies that delay the removal of criminal aliens and other priority cases by preventing new low priority cases from clogging the immigration court dockets.”

Homeland Security officials are currently determining what steps need to be taken so that the program can expand nationwide to all immigration courts by early next year. It is estimated that approximately 50,000 cases will be administratively closed.