As immigration attorneys , sometimes we have to realize that a little publicity is a bad thing. In today’s Miami Herald, there is a report about the number of Miami immigration court cases dismissed by Immigration Judges. What was actually happening is that the Miami Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) Office of Chief Counsel had adopted the recent memorandum by John Morton, Head of ICE, who directed that certain cases be examined for prosecutorial discretion.
The problem with the publicity is that the Miami Herald article has caused ICE to review their implementation of the Morton Memo and they have placed restrictions on their attorneys on dismissing cases. Normally, when a person in removal proceedings is the beneficiary of a family or employment based petition, ICE will dismiss the removal proceedings while the petition is pending adjudication. After the Morton Memo, ICE attorneys began identifying those types of cases and filing motions with the immigration court to terminate the removal proceedings.
Unfortunately, this practice is now restricted, in part, due to the publicity it has received. It remains to be seen how ICE will treat motions to dismiss filed by private bar attorneys on behalf of their clients.