Today, November 17, 2011, the Office of the Principal Legal Advisor (OPLA) released a new memorandum relating to Prosecutorial Discretion and Immigration Enforcement. See docs/OPLA memo.pdf. The purpose of the memorandum is to ensure that that Immigration Courts follow the civil enforcement priorities laid out in the June 17, 2011 Morton memorandum.
OPLA announces in this memorandum that it will conduct a review of incoming and pending cases on the immigration court docket in each Office of Chief Counsel (OCC). These cases fall into three categories. 1) Cases in which Notices to Appear have not been filed; 2) all cases on the Master Docket and 3) all cases set for merit hearings up to seven months from the date of the memorandum.
This review is estimated to take 2 months. This November 17th memorandum calls for each Office of Chief Counsel to establish a standard operating procedure to review the above categories of cases. The Memorandum states that it does not replace the Morton memorandum, “which remains the cornerstone for assessing whether prosecutorial discretion is appropriate any circumstance".
ICE has also released two companion memoranda relating to the next steps in implementing prosecutorial discretion and guidance for ICE attorneys in determining prosecutorial discretion. See /Ice companion memo.pdf and docs/next steps for implementing prosecutorial discretion.pdf