Mooradian spoke this week on a panel at the Boston University School of Law highlighting recent developments in humanitarian immigration law. Mooradian spoke about his own experience and clinical training at BU and how that training helped prepare him for the current immigration landscape.
With respect to recent changes in immigration law, Mooradian summarized the change in policy to reflect a lack in discretion. First, he noted that immigration prosecutors working for the Department of Homeland Security have all but stopped the use of Prosecutorial Discretion— a method previously used for low-priority cases where the facts may have been sympathetic but legal claims may have been weaker. This practice of closing out cases without a resolution, which would often allow a respondent to remain in the United States indefinitely, has effectively ceased under the current administration.
He also spoke about a lack of discretion among enforcement officers. Under the Obama Administration, priorities for enforcement focused primarily on immigrants with criminal history. Recent Homeland Security memoranda have widened the priorities and rendered many people unexpectedly in contact with immigration officials.
And, through administrative decisions, the relief available to noncitizens has been narrowed. In particular, in Matter of AB, protections for survivors of gang violence and domestic violence are less able to seek relief through asylum. Additionally, matters such as Castro-Tum make strategic efforts to adjust status or use family relationships as a form of relief have rendered many parties unable to administratively close their proceedings in order to avoid deportation. Mooradian stressed the importance of naturalization in these complicated and frustrating times for immigrants’ rights.