Priorities for Enforcement

Since the Secretary of Homeland Security announced the expansion of Deferred Action on November 20, 2014, most of the attention has been on the possibility of Deferred Action for Parents of Americans (DAPA). An important but largely overlooked memo signed on the same day spells out new enforcement priorities for the administration. This memo identifies many persons who are now a high priority for removal who were not necessarily priority cases before November 20. In particular, individuals with one conviction for Driving Under the Influence or Driving While Intoxicated is now a high priority for removal. 

From on perspective, this is understandable: The administration has drawn a clear line and indicated that only those who obey all laws will be given discretionary relief. On the other hand, many convictions that could result in a person's detention are not crimes that would prevent the person from gaining lawful permanent resident status. It is one more conundrum created by the inability of Congress and the President to come up with a meaningful and long-term immigration reform.