Friday, September 4, 2015

Wadhia on the History of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases

New from New York University Press: Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases (June 2015), by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia (Faculty Scholar and Director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights, Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law). Here's a description from the Press:
When Beatles star John Lennon faced deportation from the U.S. in the 1970s, his lawyer Leon Wildes made a groundbreaking argument. He argued that Lennon should be granted “nonpriority” status pursuant to INS’s (now DHS’s) policy of prosecutorial discretion. In U.S. immigration law, the agency exercises prosecutorial discretion favorably when it refrains from enforcing the full scope of immigration law. A prosecutorial discretion grant is important to an agency seeking to focus its priorities on the “truly dangerous” in order to conserve resources and to bring compassion into immigration enforcement. The Lennon case marked the first moment that the immigration agency’s prosecutorial discretion policy became public knowledge. Today, the concept of prosecutorial discretion is more widely known in light of the Obama Administration’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA program, a record number of deportations and a stalemate in Congress to move immigration reform.
Beyond Deportation is the first book to comprehensively describe the history, theory, and application of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law. It provides a rich history of the role of prosecutorial discretion in the immigration system and unveils the powerful role it plays in protecting individuals from deportation and saving the government resources. Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia draws on her years of experience as an immigration attorney, policy leader, and law professor to advocate for a bolder standard on prosecutorial discretion, greater mechanisms for accountability when such standards are ignored, improved transparency about the cases involving prosecutorial discretion, and recognition of “deferred action” in the law as a formal benefit.
A blurb of note:
"The definitive word on the all-important tool of prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement. Wadhia traces the fascinating history of the exercise of such discretion under U.S. immigration law, which includes careful study of the famous case of John Lennon and Yoko Ono through to the use of such discretion in President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. Rather than simply describing the history, Beyond Deportation offers concrete recommendations about prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement, including greater transparency in decisionmaking and rules that limit government attorneys in the exercise of discretion. Wadhia has written an important analysis of the most significant positive immigration development of the Obama administration." — Kevin R. Johnson, University of California, Davis
More information is available here.

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