The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) today announced that it will identify low-priority immigration cases, including those involving DREAM Act kids, and close those not deemed to be "high-priority." The announcement came in a letter from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in response to a letter from Bennet and 21 Senate colleagues urging relief from deportation for qualified DREAM Act kids and an evaluation of possible deportation actions on a case-by-case basis.
"This announcement is welcome news to kids who know no other home than this country and their families who are hanging in limbo worrying everyday about the possibility of being deported," said Bennet. "Limited law enforcement resources should be focused on criminals and threats to our national security. We should not waste valuable federal enforcement dollars on kids who have excelled in the classroom and want the opportunity to go to college or serve in our military and contribute to our economy."
In the letter, Napolitano also announced the formation of a new taskforce with the Department of Justice to identify criteria for determining which cases are classified as low-priority, conduct a case-by-case review of all individuals currently in removal proceedings to ensure that they constitute our highest priorities and close cases of low-priority. Those involved will be notified when their cases are closed, providing them with much needed certainty as they move forward with their lives -- to college, to the military and in pursuit of the American dream.
"This case-by-case approach will enhance public safety," wrote Napolitano in the letter. "Immigration judges will be able to more swiftly adjudicate high priority cases, such as those involving convicted felons. This process will also allow additional federal enforcement resources to be focused on border security and the removal of public safety threats."
Bennet also reiterated the need for comprehensive immigration reform and his commitment to passing the DREAM Act.
"While this is good news for DREAM Act kids, we must continue to work to pass comprehensive immigration reform to fix our broken immigration system," said Bennet. "I also remain committed to fight for the DREAM Act to ensure that these students have the chance to go to college, fight for the country they have always called home and contribute to our economy. It makes good fiscal sense to have our government invest in the education of our youth and generate over $2 billion in savings through new revenues when these young people enter our workforce."