Sometimes the U.S. government exercises its "prosecutorial discretion" to not target certain illegal aliens even though they may be in violation of U.S. immigration laws. In this article our Las Vegas NV immigration attorneys answer frequently-asked-questions about prosecutorial discretion. Scroll down for more.
- What is "prosecutorial discretion" in Las Vegas NV immigration cases?
- Who can exercise "prosecutorial discretion" in Las Vegas NV immigration cases?
- How is "prosecutorial discretion" applied in Las Vegas NV immigration cases?
"Prosecutorial discretion” is the authority of either an agency or officer to determine what charges to bring and how to pursue an individual's civil, administrative, criminal, or immigration case. In immigration cases, prosecutorial discretion is used when deciding whether to:
- Issue a detainer;
- Start removal proceedings;
- Focus enforcement resources on certain violations or conduct;
- Detain, question, or arrest a specific individual;
- Detain or release an individual on bond, supervision, or even the individual's own recognizance;
- Settle or dismiss a removal case;
- Stay a final order of removal;
- File an appeal; and/or
- Execute a removal order.
In short, U.S. government immigration officials may have discretion over whether to go after a non-citizen for violating immigration laws.1
Within the context of immigration, ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement), USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services), and CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) officers all have authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion.
Generally, this discretion determines whether the government is going to go ahead with the enforcement of a case. Immigration officers typically make initial decisions related to immigration case. After an initial decision has been made to issue a Notice to Appear, people at higher levels within the government agency will determinate if/how the case proceeds.2
The practical factors that go into deciding whether to use prosecutorial discretion include:
- Resource limitations;
- Priorities; and
- An overabundance of cases in Las Vegas Immigration Court.
When dealing with immigration matters, the officer will also take into account:
- The individual's pursuit of U.S. education;
- The circumstances of the individual's arrival in the U.S.;
- The individual's length of presence within the U.S.;
- Whether the individual has served in the U.S. armed forces;
- Whether the individual has ties or has given to the community;
- Whether the individual has a U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, child, or parent;
- The individual's age and health;
- The individual's ties to his/her home country; and
- Whether the individual is likely to be given temporary or permanent relief from removal.
Note that prosecutorial discretion is not always exercised on a case-by-case basis. It may also be exercised on an agency-wide basis.3
Do you need an immigration attorney in Nevada?
Has your loved one been busted in an ICE raid in Nevada? Contact our Las Vegas NV immigration lawyers. We will do what we can to help you throughout this difficult process. Immigration laws are very confusing and hard to understand, so anyone facing immigration issues is encouraged to speak with someone experienced in immigration law. Call 702-DEFENSE (702-333-3673) for a consultation with a Nevada immigration attorney.