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ICE to halt more than 16,000 immigrant deportations

Last month, officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced that they have decided to shelve 7.5 percent of deportation cases that are currently in the system. The decision is part of an effort aimed at refocusing deportations on detainees with criminal backgrounds. Roughly 16,500 deportation cases will be suspended under the plan.

So far, about 2,700 of the cases have already been put on hold, while the remaining wait for paperwork and background checks to go through. Latino Fox News reported that it is uncertain how many of the immigrants involved in the cases have been notified of the suspensions, or how many have accepted it.

Some immigrants with pending deportation cases might actually prefer to have their case heard in court because they have a strong defense. For example, some may be able to seek asylum and then could live in the country legally.

ICE said that by mid-April, it had reviewed more than 70 percent of the immigration cases pending in the system. The Obama Administration promised last August that approximately 300,000 deportation cases would be reviewed under the new guidelines. Immigrant advocates welcomed the move, but now say that "prosecutorial discretion" is being applied in too few of cases.

The director of advocacy for the American Immigration Lawyers Association said that the cases being put on hold represent "a very low number." Critics also contend that people whose deportation cases are put on hold still don't get a work permit, so they are essentially sitting in limbo without the ability to legally provide for their families.

Source: Latino Fox News , "ICE to Suspend over 16,000 Deportations, Immigration Advocates Underwhelmed," April 25, 2012

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