Tuesday, August 31, 2010

ICE Memo Indicates Changes in Handling of Removal Proceedings for Aliens with Pending or Approved Petitions for Relief

Under current removal practices, a petition pending before USCIS may create delays in removal proceedings. Indeed, according to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOlR), in July of 2009, some 17,000 removal cases were continued pending the outcome of USCIS decisions on petitions. Recognizing that many of these cases may ultimately result in relief for the alien, ICE has revised its policy on handling these cases with the goal of promoting docket efficiency and saving resources.

The resulting policy, as detailed in an August 20, 2010, memorandum by Assistant Secretary John Morton, calls for ICE to request expedited adjudication by USCIS (30 days for detained and 45 days for non-detained aliens) in these cases. Additionally, where there is an underlying application or petition filed with USCIS by or on behalf of a detained alien and ICE determines that the alien appears eligible for relief from removal, upon a determination that no adverse factors such as criminal convictions are present, ICE should promptly move to dismiss the proceedings without prejudice.

The policy, when fully implemented, may help reducing the backlogs in the immigration courts and reduce overcrowding within the ICE detention system.

Read the full memo here.

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