In June 2011, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's then-director John Morton issued a memo outlining the agency's exercise of its "prosecutorial discretion" in civil immigration cases.
Morton emphasized that ICE would use this discretion to ensure the agency's "enforcement priorities." And ICE's number one enforcement priority, as described in a previous Morton memo, is the removal of criminal aliens and aliens who pose "a national security risk or a risk to public safety."
Some local immigration attorneys I know tell me that since the Morton memo, ICE has changed its game and is working with them to release non-criminal aliens.
Yet, ICE remains an institution that relies on deportations to exist in its current state. For ICE, the fact that the Obama administration is closing in on 2 million deportations is a good thing.