New immigration rules could save some from deportation | Houston & Texas News | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle: "Top immigration officials have directed all agents and attorneys to consider exercising prosecutorial discretion in new and pending immigration cases, potentially sparing untold numbers of illegal immigrants from deportation.
A memo issued by Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director John Morton on Friday instructs all officers, agents and government attorneys to consider a wide range of factors before charging people with being in the country illegally or pushing ahead with their deportation cases.
Immigrant advocates said they were encouraged by a change in guidelines, which instruct ICE officials to consider everything from a suspected illegal immigrant's community contributions to criminal history before making a determination on a case.
"This is an example of smart enforcement of the immigration laws," said Eleanor Pelta, president of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, which represents 11,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. "It really encourages ICE agents to use their limited resources to pursue dangerous people who would do us harm, rather than harmless, innocent people, rather than people who are just going about their business.""