While the President’s executive action was hailed for expanding legal options for millions of undocumented immigrants, it also largely focused on enforcement.

President Obama also took the welcome step of dismantling Secure Communities (also known as “S-Comm”), a federal program which, despite its’ purpose, has been highly criticized for the deportations of thousands of non-criminal immigrants.

Secure Communities will be replaced by the Priority Enforcement Program, which will categorize immigrants under three levels of priorities for deportation. Immigrants who fall under the following categories are still priorities for deportation:

  • First Priority – suspected terrorists, gang members, convicted felons, and generally others thought to be a threat to national security. Immigrants caught crossing the border are also added to this category.
  • Second Priority – immigrants who have committed at least three misdemeanors, or one significant misdemeanor. Also, immigrants who entered the country in or after 2014, and immigrants felt to be “abus[ing] the visa or visa waiver programs.”
  • Third Priority – Immigrants given a final removal order in 2014 or later.

Detainers are gone, replaced with “requests for notification,” except under exceptional circumstances. Of course, the government still reserves the right to deport non-priority immigrants.

Given the optimistic goal and harsh reality of Secure Communities, only time will tell if the Priority Enforcement Program lives up to its’ name.

“With contribution from Rebecca Baik”

The Law Office of Susan N. Rosti, Esq. has the experience you need plus a proven track record in representing immigration, deportation and related legal cases. Attorney Rosti specializes in this area of law and understands that an individual needs a lawyer to explain their options clearly and assist them in achieving the best resolution possible. Call The Law Office of Susan N. Rosti, Esq. today at 973.883.5977 to schedule a consultation today if you are facing immigration and / or deportation issues and need representation.