For a while, at least among the legal community, the government’s announcement that Prosecutorial Discretion would be utilized to sift priority cases seemed like lip service. The numbers borne out by the surveys seemed to confirm that very few cases had in fact been closed out under prosecutorial discretion. Now, however, according to a recent New York Times article, the Department of Homeland Security will begin implementing a nationwide training program for enforcement agents and prosecutors. The program will hopefully provide more specific guidance in how to exercise prosecutorial discretion, so that prosecutors have something concrete to go by. Additionally, at least during the first stage of this initiative, agency lawyers will comb through all new cases first to close out low priority cases. Then, starting December 4, DHS and the Department of Justice will start six-week pilot projects in Baltimore and Denver in which agency lawyers will go through current cases in those courts to do the same thing. When these pilot programs end on January 13, officials will presumably work on expanding these projects to immigration courts nationwide. Finally, the government seems to be taking solid and definitive steps towards clearing the court’s clogged calendars.
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