Immigration Courtrooms Silent During ICE Review

Published January 16, 2012 3:45PM (EST)

DENVER (AP) — U.S. prosecutors in Denver and Baltimore are reviewing thousands of deportation cases to determine which illegal immigrants might stay in the country — perhaps indefinitely — so officials can reduce an overwhelming backlog by focusing mainly on detainees with criminal backgrounds.

Federal deportation hearings for non-criminal defendants released from custody were suspended Dec. 5 for the review and resume this week. Similar reviews are planned across the country to allow U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to target deportations of illegal immigrants with criminal records or those who have been deported previously.

Officials are reviewing the files case by case to determine where "prosecutorial discretion" might be applied.

Republicans have decried the policy as a back-door way of granting amnesty to people who are living in the U.S. illegally.

By Salon Staff

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