The ICE Memo on prosecutorial discretion is nothing new. It comes from a line of memos. It explains to ICE Attorneys what they can do. Many already knew. It is a memo geared to bring good faith to a messy situation.
ICE has to deport many who have lived without consequences or detection for years. The process of prosecuting people who wrongly believe that they rights to stay takes an emotional toll upon some. The Morton Memo let’s the prosecutors know that if certain facts exist, then they ‘may’ administratively close, continue or terminate cases where such foreigners can be easily removed.
The purpose is to focus deportation on foreigners with pending asylum and criminal convictions. There are some foreigners, who given enough time in the U. S., can lawfully immigrate. The low quotas mean two decade delays in processing for too many.
Some may have U.S. Children or a U.S. Citizen spouse. That spouse may suffer exceptional or extremely unusual hardship. Each time ICE deports a foreign born parent or spouse, the human rights consequence to a U.S. Citizen demonstrates how morally outrageous our deportation laws are to the rest of the world.
The Morton Memo reminds prosecutors to use morally appropriate solutions where they wish. The Memo is not an order. The memo is simply advisory. Immigration prosecutors must decide what is best. The memo lets a prosecutor know what is acceptable conduct for this administration.
It has similarities to the memo under Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton. The Morton Memo goes into more detail that a few prosecutors may have feigned ignorance of, perhaps. Hopefully, the mentality and philosophy behind the Memo may be better honored based upon its detail.