The Department of Homeland Security will soon begin reviewing pending deportation cases in order to prioritize the deportation of individuals with criminal records or convictions. The agency is also implementing a training program for both immigration enforcement agents, as well as for prosecuting lawyers.
Both the review and the training programs are aimed at lessening the burden on overwhelmed immigration judges by halting the deportations of those without criminal records and by speeding up the deportations of those with a criminal history.
A test program will begin on December 4 and, if successful, the program will be expanded in January. Under the test program, a number of respondents are likely to have their deportations frozen. These respondents could include:
- The elderly;
- Children who have been in the United States for more than five years;
- Students who came to the United States before they turned 16 and who are currently studying in a college in this country; and likely
- Military service members and close family members of American citizens.
Despite the changes, the White House has reiterated that the number of deportations will not decrease. The current administration has been processing a large number of deportations and that is not likely to change under the new program. The difference is, the focus will now be on removing those people who have serious crimes on their record and who pose a threat to national security rather than simply on deportation of all immigrants.
The New Jersey immigration lawyers at Helmer Paul Conley and Kasselman represent persons in visa, deportation, asylum and other immigration-related matters across New Jersey.