In September 2019, ICE responded to a letter sent by Representative Julián Castro (TX-20) and several other members of Congress about the guidance changes regarding stay of removal processes for U visa applicants. In the letter it mentions several points:
- ICE may join a motion to terminate for U visa applicants in removal proceedings and those with final orders may request a stay.
- Outlining the new ICE guidance stay requests for U visa applicants, confirming that ICE is no longer required to contact USCIS for prima facie determination on a case. Instead, individual ICE officers will exercise their individual discretion based on the “totality of the circumstances” (See more about this harmful policy here).
- The letter confirms that the 2011 ICE Memo on Prosecutorial Discretion for Certain Victims, Witnesses and Plaintiffs remains in effect.
Though this letter reiterates much of the problematic language on this new directive as it has before, advocates can use the language of the letter in their advocacy with ICE on behalf of survivors, showing that ICE does have the authority to utilize prosecutorial discretion on behalf of victims, with direct confirmation that the language of the 2011 guidance remains in effect and should be considered. Please keep us posted at firstname.lastname@example.org with any advocacy updates.