Backgrounder: The President's Coming Executive Action and Prosecutorial Discretion

At the core of the coming debate over Executive Action will likely be a discussion of prosecutorial discretion and/or the “Morton Memos.” The use of this power is what created DACA; it is something the entire GOP House voted on to repeal twice in the current Congress; and will likely provide the legal basis of what the President does next. Much of our work this past year has been in documenting how much change the Morton Memos brought to the immigration and border enforcement system over the past several years.

We conclude that the way the Administration has already used P/D has helped make our border safer, kept the net flow of undocumented immigrants into the US at zero and improved public safety by prioritizing the removal of undocumented immigrants with criminal records from the interior of the country. It has also been humane, as the number of people deported without criminal records or caught entering the country illegally has fallen to very low levels. It has been smart and successful policy, providing the President with a strong foundation on which he can take additional action.   

For more on this see our assembled resources below. 

NDN Materials:

# of People DHS Is Removing/Returning From US Continues to Decline, October 2, 2014.

NDN/SR Statement on President Obama's Immigration Decision, Deportations, September 7, 2014.

Addressing the Central American Migrant Crisis” – Aspen Idea Blog, September 2, 2014.

NDN Report on Central American Migrants and Obama's Immigration/Enforcement Record, July 18, 2014.

"On Immigration, the House GOP has one answer: Deport the Kids", MSNBC, July 15, 2014. 

"GOP Attacks on Obama Enforcement Record are Ridiculous", April 25, 2014.

New Ice Data Finds Big Changes in Who is Getting Deported from the US, March 11, 2014.

On Trust and "Enforcing the Laws" in the Immigration Reform Debate - A Response to Speaker Boehner, Feburary 6, 2014.

 Additional, Executive Action related materials:

PowerPoint: Deportation and Discretion, Reviewing the Record and Options for Change, Marc Rosenblum, Migration Policy Institute, October 16, 2014. 

Deportation and Discretion: Reviewing the Record and Options for ChangeMigration Policy Institute, October 2014

Executive Action for Unauthorized Immigrants: Estimates of the Populations that Could Recieve ReliefMigration Policy Institute, September 2014. 

Lawyers Agree: Obama Has Broad Authority to Act on Deportations, Greg Sargent, Washington Post, September 3, 2014.

As Growth Stalls, Unauthorized Immigrant Population Becomes More SettledPew Hispanic, September 3, 2014.

Obama Well Within His Authority on Deportations, David Leopold, The Hill, August 12, 2014. 

The Current Record on Deportations: What Underlies the 'Eye of the beholder' Dynamic?,Migration Policy Institute, April 28, 2014.

Performance Measures Suggest the Border Strategy May Be WorkingBipartisan Policy Center,April 22, 2014.

Court Deportations Drop 43 Percent in Past Five YearsNew York Times, April 16, 2014.

In 2013, 59% of Deported Immigrants Convicted of a CrimePew Research Center, March 18, 2014.

 Political and Other Articles on the Hispanic Electorate

5 Takeaways About the 2014 Latino Vote, Pew Hispanic, November 10, 2014. 

Dramatic Improvement in Hispanic Dropout Rate,  Pew Research, October 2, 2014

Hispanic Uninsured rate drops 1/3 in 1st year of ACA  , September 26, 2014. 

Hispanic Only Group to See Its Poverty Rate Decline and Incomes Rise, Pew Research, September 19, 2014. 

Most Anti-Hispanic House of Representatives Ever? August 2, 2014