President Obama issued a directive to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) to give consideration to parents of minor children when determining custody status and deportation.
Typically, when an undocumented immigrant comes to the attention of ICE, a determination is made regarding whether to release the person or detain them in an immigration facility. In the past, consideration was given to only mothers of young children, but now President Obama has directed the agency to consider ‘parents’ of young children when deciding whether to detain them or not.
Similarly, the President’s directive urges ICE to consider that undocumented parents of young children should not be physically deported from the United States. This should result in more removal proceedings cases being closed for prosecutorial discretion as more respondents will fall under the ‘parents’ category.
Additionally, parents of minor children can apply for a Stay of Removal, which will permit them to remain in the United States and work and drive legally even if they have been ordered deported.
This is an important change in ICE policy as it will affect thousands of undocumented immigrants in the United States.