Understanding How Prosecutorial Discretion Functions in the Immigration System
This chapter provides an introduction to the structure of the immigration process and a short history of the dissolution of the Immigration and Naturalization (INS) and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) following the 9/11 attacks. This chapter underscores the significant role of the DHS in exercising prosecutorial discretion and the fact that all three of its major agencies—U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE)—have the authority to use this discretion. This chapter explains how the DHS may exercise prosecutorial discretion during different stages of the enforcement process. Finally, this chapter describes the humanitarian and economic reasons that prosecutorial discretion is an element of the immigration system.
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