U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE)

April 5, 2012

ACTION ALERT

Demand that local U.S. Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) offices implement prosecutorial discretion as instructed by the Department of Homeland Security!

BACKGROUND

Along with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ campaign Justice for Immigrants, we ask that you encourage ICE staff to comply with the prosecutorial discretion guidelines outlined in the Morton memos.

The Department of Homeland Security announced that prosecutorial discretion should be exercised on “low priority” deportation cases.  Prosecutorial discretion refers to the agency’s authority to not enforce immigration laws against certain individuals. The Morton Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion calls on ICE attorneys and employees to refrain from pursuing noncitizens with family, military, educational (DREAM-eligible students), or other ties in the U.S. and instead spend the agency’s limited resources on persons who pose a serious threat to public safety or national security.  The memo also articulates the expectations for and responsibilities of ICE personnel when exercising their discretion.

According to Catholic Social Teaching values, “marriage and family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined.”  Together, we must seek the common good and well-being of all.  Chairman of the USCCB, Archbishop José H. Gomez, supported the Morton Memo writing, “The decision embodies the kind of common-sense, compassionate immigration policies that can serve to simultaneously enforce federal immigration law while respecting the dignity and vulnerabilities of the migrants in our midst.”

Although the Morton Memo was introduced in June, 2011 and again in November, 2011, a report released by the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) and American Immigration Council found that the majority of ICE offices had not undergone any changes in policy to account for the memoranda.

ACTION REQUESTED

ACT NOW by contacting your nearest Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) field office and ask them to implement the guidance and directives in the prosecutorial discretion memos issued by Director Morton:

  • Call your local ICE office and ask them to implement prosecutorial discretion.
  • Send a letter by mail to ICE using our sample letter.
  • Share this action alert with your social media networks.
  • Contact information for your local or nearest ICE field office can be found on the ICE web site at:  http://www.ice.gov/contact/ero/
  • Send a letter to the President at www.justiceforimmigrants.org!


SAMPLE LETTER TO ICE

Dear (Local ICE Official’s Name):

I ask that you act immediately to implement the prosecutorial discretion guidelines outlined by ICE Director John Morton in his memos dated June 17, 2011.

The vast majority of the potential recipients for prosecutorial discretion include individuals who came to this country as young children; many with decades-long ties and contributions to their local communities; seniors; young adults seeking to complete post-secondary education in the United States; and various other vulnerable immigrants.

The instructions for discretion in Director Morton’s memos express the kind of meaningful and compassionate immigration policies and procedures that can serve to enforce federal immigration law while respecting the dignity and vulnerabilities of the migrants and their families living in our communities.  These guidelines are in line with my Catholic faith that teaches “marriage and family are the central social institutions that must be supported and strengthened, not undermined.”

Please be mindful of the various circumstances of the immigrants that will come before you and, when possible, extend prosecutorial discretion as advised by the Morton memos.

Thank you for your service to our country.