>The Homeland Security Department said Thursday it will halt deportation proceedings on a case-by-case basis against illegal immigrants who meet certain criteria such as attending school, having family in the military or are primarily responsible for other family members’ care.
>The move, announced in letters to Congress, comes after Hispanic activists and Democrats had urged President Obama to exempt broad swaths of illegal immigrants from deportation while Congress wrestles with the issue.
>Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said her department and the Justice Department will review all ongoing cases and see who meets the new criteria on a case-by-case basis.
>“This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety,” she said in the letter. “Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons.”
>The new rules apply to those who have been apprehended and are in deportation proceedings, but have not been officially ordered out of the country by a judge. Miss Napolitano said a working group will try to come up with “guidance on how to provide for appropriate discretionary consideration” for “compelling cases” in those instances where someone has already been ordered deported.
>“Today is a victory not just for immigrants but for the American people as a whole because it makes no sense to deport Dream Act students and others who can make great contributions to America and pose no threat,” said Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat. “It is not in our national interest to send away young people who were raised in the U.S. and have been educated here and want only to contribute to this country’s success.”