U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez warned immigrants Tuesday about possible scams that seek to exploit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s new policy to use “prosecutorial discretion” in prioritizing its deportation cases.
“There are scoundrels out there who prey on the fears and hopes of the immigrants,” Gutierrez said during a press conference held at the office of the Illinois Collation for Immigrant and Refugee Rights. “Don’t be fooled.”
Janet Napolitano, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, announced the implementation of “prosecutorial discretion” on Aug. 18, authorizing her department’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement to dismiss deportation cases against undocumented immigrants who fall into “low priority” categories, including students, parents with American-born children and spouses of military families.
Gutierrez hailed the use of prosecutorial discretion as a “new tool” to defend the immigrant community, adding that the new policy does not amount to amnesty. But he warned the community about possible immigration fraud and advised immigrants not to apply for anything, or pay attorneys or “notarios”--public notaries.
Gutierrez also addressed the need for further clarification and negotiation about which pending cases will be prioritized for deportation.
On Saturday, Sept. 10, Gutierrez will host a community meeting with Homeland Security representatives to clarify the parameters of prosecutorial discretion. The meeting will start at 10 a.m. at Benito Juarez High School, 2150 S. Laflin St.
--Crystal Vance Guerra