Even with recent provisions and policies that promote prosecutorial discretion and leniency for illegal immigrants, the number of deportation cases entering backlog is surpassing the number of cases that are being closed or dismissed.
That will come as a bit of surprise to many Los Angeles residents after the city’s immigration courts recently completed a two-week hiatus to review their deportation casework. According to public records, the city closed 707 deportation cases; the most for any city in America during these review periods.
All told, 7,180 deportation cases were closed after the reviews covered roughly 300,000 cases; a massive step for federal and immigration officials, but an even greater one for the individuals who were spared unnecessary and costly deportation proceedings. As is the point of prosecutorial discretion, the cases against these individuals are being dismissed so that immigration enforcement can focus on high-profile individuals with criminal records.
Still, about 111,000 new immigration cases were filed during these reviews, absolutely dwarfing the number of closed cases. This means the swelling effect on the backlog of immigration cases continues, even with these programs and provisions trying to combat the issue.
So what happens to the people who had their cases closed by the review process? No further legal action is to be taken against them — at least for the past transgression that landed them in trouble. They are not eligible for a visa, but they can obtain a work permit.
Work permits can be difficult to secure and the application process can be very confusing for first-time applicants, so it can very beneficial to discuss your desire for a work permit with an experienced immigration attorney. Such legal representation can advise you on the ins and outs of the application process, helping alleviate your fears about obtaining a work permit.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “Deportation case closures rise, but backlog continues,” Paloma Esquivel, July 25, 2012
- Deportation proceedings and removal defense are two areas that our law firm has a wealth of experience in. Visit out Los Angeles deportation and removal defense page to learn more.