Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases

Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases


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The first book to comprehensively describe the history, theory, and application of prosecutorial discretion in immigration law

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781479870059
Publisher: New York University Press
Publication date: 05/01/2017
Series: Citizenship and Migration in the Americas Series , #4
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 240
Sales rank: 863,365
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia is the Samuel Weiss Faculty Scholar and the Director of the Center for Immigrants’ Rights at Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law. Previously, Wadhia was Deputy Director for Legal Affairs at the National Immigration Forum and an associate with Maggio Kattar P.C., both in Washington, D.C.

Leon Wildes is founder and senior partner of the New York based immigration law firm, Wildes & Weinberg P.C. He served as the National President of the American Immigration Lawyers Association in 1970.

Table of Contents


Foreword ix

Leon Wildes

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

1. Primer: Understanding How Prosecutorial Discretion Functions in the Immigration System 7

2. The Early Years: The Deportation Case of John Lennon and Evolution of Immigration Prosecutorial Discretion 14

3. Lessons from Criminal Law: How Immigration Prosecutorial Discretion Compares to the Criminal System 33

4. Deferred Action: Examining the Jewel (or a Precious Form) of Prosecutorial Discretion 54

5. Presidential Portrait: Prosecutorial Discretion during the Obama Administration 88

6. Going to Court: The Role of the Judiciary in Prosecutorial Discretion Decisions 109

7. Open Government: Transparency in Prosecutorial Discretion and Why It Matters 134

8. Reform: Improving Prosecutorial Discretion in the Immigration System 146

Abbreviations 157

Authorities 161

Notes 169

Index 223

About the Author 233

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Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
ReadersFavorite3 More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Vernita Naylor for Readers' Favorite With the presidential election heating up, a hot topic at the forefront is deportation. The focus has been on illegal immigrants. Author Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, a child of immigrant parents, who has lived in the U.S. all of her life, has a passion to see justice for those who have also made the United States their home. They have put down family roots, raising their children that were born in the U.S., and paying taxes, only to be threatened and to have their families torn apart due to deportation. In Beyond Deportation: The Role of Prosecutorial Discretion in Immigration Cases by Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, she goes the distance in educating the reader on all of the elements of the laws pertaining to deportation. At the forefront is the prosecutorial discretion law, which was made famous by the case against John Lennon and his wife, Yoko Ono. The prosecutorial discretion law states that, at their discretion, attorneys can decide whether and what type of charges should be made against a person or person(s). For an immigrant, battling against a prosecutorial discretion law case without a knowledgeable attorney would be an uphill losing battle. Beyond Deportation is packed with a wealth of information. When working as a legislative lawyer for the National Immigration Forum, the author notes that the halls of the Department of Homeland Security were always full, caseloads were heavy, and emotions were running high because even then deportation was like a revolving door. As Wadhia points out, proper laws must be in place to protect those that are living productive lives, which is so true. This is why President Obama placing measures in place, like that of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) to help the cause in legalizing undocumented immigrants from being deported, is a great starting point. There are still some laws that must be in place for the parents and other family members that have lived in the U.S. for at least 10-15 years. We still have work to do. Great job!