This is an update on a client we have told you about previously, Carlos. Carlos came to the US from Mexico when he was 17. He was born with very little hearing and attended special schools, making him a target for local gangs. He is asking the Detroit Immigrant Court to grant him asylum, allowing him to stay in the United States.
As the time for his hearing approached, our staff and volunteers feared the outcome because Carlos could not produce much hard evidence to support his case. We expected to lose and warned Carlos that he might soon be ordered to leave the country.
However, at the beginning of the hearing, the judge asked the attorneys first to discuss whether a new memo issued by the U.S. Attorney General applied to Carlos’ situation. The memo restored a requirement that existed during the Obama Administration: prosecutorial discretion. This legal concept means that ICE must set priorities for which noncitizens it deports and those allowed to remain in the U.S. Those who have a criminal history move to the front of the line. Immigrants with strong family ties, good moral character, and clean records are allowed to remain in the U.S. while they wait.
Based on these newly adopted priorities, Carlos’ case should not have been scheduled with the court. Even though we were all present in the hearing, the judge granted us time to request that ICE drop its case against him. Our concerns for Carlos’ future immediately were replaced with new optimism!
Carlos has more time in the United States, where he has built a life, but the judge’s action is only a temporary solution. While no longer a priority for deportation, Carlos still lacks permanent status in the United States.
A permanent solution is what we want for Carlos, but since a court is unlikely to grant it under our current laws, getting more time is the next best thing. Our attorneys and Carlos see this as a success where we had expected defeat! However, a genuinely permanent solution will only come when Congress acts and makes prosecutorial discretion a pathway to citizenship.
The Southwest Detroit Immigrant and Refugee Center provides free and low-cost legal services to those who need them most in the Detroit area, with a focus on recent immigrants and refugees.
We were founded in 2014 by Kevin Piecuch, our Executive Director