People who are eligible for President Obama’s immigration relief are being detained and deported by US immigration authorities along with low-priority cases, the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is claiming. AILA says that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is failing to implement the memo regarding Obama’s executive orders consistently, or sometimes not at all.
On November 20th last year the president made the announcement that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which was created back in 2012 and prevented around half a million young people who came to the United States as minors from being deported, was to be expanded and a new initiative, the Deferred Action for Parents of Citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, created.
These measures were suspended last month by federal judge Andrew Hanen, although Obama insisted that the ruling had no impact on the priority for deporting those immigrants with serious criminal convictions. A number of criminal attorneys are claiming that there are some ICE agents who are not following Washington’s orders and Greg Chen, the director of AILA legal services, says they have been forced to ask the authorities to make it clear to their agents that they need to be consistent in the way in which the priorities are managed.
ICE claims that there is no issue; however, AILA’s president-elect, Victor Nieblas, believes that a number of agents think Hanen’s ruling has rendered the memo invalid, saying that “there have always been immigration officials who do just as they please.”