Faith Sign on Letter: In Support of Prosecutorial DiscretionPDF Version
The Honorable Janet Napolitano
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC 20528
Dear Secretary Napolitano:
We, the undersigned faith-based organizations, are deeply concerned by the broken immigration system's impact on families, communities, and the U.S. economy. When immigration enforcement actions tear apart families, our churches, synagogues, mosques, and other local organizations are on the front lines to provide housing, food, counseling, and other forms of support and ministry.
We therefore welcome the Administration's process to review all pending cases before U.S. Immigration Courts and administratively close low priority cases, such as individuals who are close family members of U.S. citizens, have lived in the United States since a young age, or are military service members. However, we write to express the following concerns about the implementation of this new policy as a nationwide expansion begins to take place:
- Individuals whose cases are closed should be eligible to receive work authorization. It does not make sense to allow immigrants to remain temporarily in the United States, but then prevent them from working legally and supporting themselves and their families.
- The U.S. government must make information publicly available to immigrants and communities, including detained individuals whose cases have not yet been reviewed. While some immigrants have legal representation, many do not. An estimated 84% of immigrant detainees lack legal representation. DHS should engage in a public information campaign to explain the policy and how individuals can obtain more information. Misinformation about the review will undermine the process and expose individuals to harm from unethical notarios.
- Individuals who continue to pursue their legal claims or are not eligible for prosecutorial discretion, while retaining full access to due process, should not face prolonged court delays. During the initial pilot review, the Baltimore Immigration Court rescheduled some immigration hearings up to two years later. These kinds of delays are emotionally, mentally, and financially taxing on immigrants waiting to have their cases heard by the immigration courts.
As people of faith, we urge the government to employ this prosecutorial discretion initiative consistently and fairly to protect families and the God-given dignity of every person. If implemented correctly, we hope that this review process leads to a more humane and fiscally responsible immigration enforcement strategy.
See PDF Version for the complete list of signers