Guidelines for and against Deportation

On June 17, 2011, the Director of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement
ICEJohn Morton,
issued this memorandum concerning deportation priorities:

The following Internet file is an attempt to put this memo into language that everyone can understand.

The presentation below is addressed to the individual foreign national,
who is now settled in the United States of America without official permission.

This is a policy decision, rather than a change of immigration law.
Before any immigration reform,
ICE nevertheless must decide which foreign nationals to deport
and which to allow to remain in the USA.
When new immigration laws are finally enacted,
they might put these operating principles into law.
These guidelines will probably be modified before they become law.


    If you are discovered by ICE,
the following factors will count toward the decision NOT to deport you:

1. How long have you lived in the USA?
If you have lived in the United States for some months or years,
during what part of this time (if any)
did you have permission to be present in the USA?
The longer you have lived in the USA
(especially with a visa for at least part of that time),
the less likely you will be deported.
If you have lived in the USA since childhood,
you are more likely to be offered
a pathway to permanent residence or even citizenship.

2. When and how did you enter the United States?

If you entered by some legal means,
the more likely you will be permitted to stay.
If you were brought into the USA as a child,
your chances of staying are improved,
since the immigration violation was not your own fault.
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
now allows you to register and receive permission to stay in the USA.

3. What legal immigration status have you held in the past?
Were you ever granted temporary resident status?
Have you been a long-time permanent resident?
Any such positive immigration status in the past
will help your claim for renewed status.

4. What education have you pursued while in the USA?

The more advanced your educational achievement,
the better your chances of staying in the United States.
Document all of your education in the USA.

5. Have you (or any close relatives) served in any U.S. military forces?
If you are currently serving in any branch of the U.S. military forces,
you have a better chance of being allowed to remain in the USA.
If you are a veteran, especially if you served in combat,
you are more likely to be granted permission to live in the USA.
Even the military service of a close relative will count in your favor.

6. What ties do you have to the community where you live?
If you have close family relationships,
these will help your application to remain in the USA.
What organizations do you belong to?
Have you make positive contributions to your community?

7. How old are you?

If you are very young or very old,
these factors will favor your remaining in the USA.

8. Are any of your relatives citizens of the United States?
If you have a spouse, child, or parent who is an American citizen,
your chances of remaining in the USA are enhanced.

9. Are you the primary caretaker for someone else who needs you to stay in the USA?
Do you have minor children who depend on you?
Are you caring for someone with a physical or mental disability?
Are you caring for a relatives who is seriously ill?
All such responsibilities for others support your case for staying in the USA.

10. Are you or your spouse pregnant or nursing?

If either of these situations applies to you,
you will have a low priority for deportation.

11. Do you or your spouse have a serious physical or mental illness?
If you are currently coping with serious health problems or disabilities,
you are not likely to be deported.

12. Will your home country refuse to accept you back?
If you can show good evidence that you will probably be harmed
if you are returned to your homeland,
then you have a better chance of remaining in the USA.

13. Are you already in the process of applying for an upgraded status in the USA?
Are you likely to be granted either temporary or permanent resident status?
Based on similar cases, will an immigration judge
probably grant your wish to stay in the USA?
Are any of your relatives U.S. citizens or permanent residents?

14. Have your been harmed in your homeland?
Are you seeking political asylum for good reasons?
Were you a victim of domestic violence in your homeland?
Were you a victim of sexual trafficking in your homeland?
Were you a victim of any other sort of crime in your homeland?
All such evidence will support your case for staying in the USA.

15. Have you been cooperating with various forms of law-enforcement in the USA?

Cooperation with local, state, and/or federal law-enforcement agencies
will improve your chances of being granted permission to remain in the USA.
Such agencies include:
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Department of Justice,  US Attorneys, 
Department of Labor,  National Labor Relations Board.
Your past history of cooperating with all branches of law-enforcement
will strengthen your case for being permitted to stay in the USA.
Or the other hand, if you have mainly sought to avoid law-enforcement,
your case for staying will be weakened.


    If you are discovered by ICE,
the following factors will count AGAINST your case for staying in the USA:

1. What contacts have you had with any level of law-enforcement?
If you have ever been arrested, tried, or convicted of any crime or violation,
this criminal record will count against you.
If there are any outstanding warrants for your arrest,
you might be handed over to some part of the criminal-justice system
instead of being given a low priority for deportation.
Are you a serious felon? A repeat offender?
Do you have a lengthy criminal record of any kind?
If you have been incarcerated in any U.S. jail or prison,
you have almost no chance of avoiding deportation.

2. Are you a known gang member?
If you have ever been part of a criminal gang,
you will have a high priority for prosecution for immigration violations
and you are likely to be deported.

3. What prior contacts have you have with immigration officials?
Your past record of denials of permission to reside in the USA,
any times you were returned to your country of origin,
and any evidence of prior attempts to defraud immigration officials
will count heavily against your application to remain in the USA.
Are there any outstanding orders for your removal from the USA?
Do you have an "egregious record of immigration violations"?
Have you been convicted of illegal re-entry?
Any and all such attempts at immigration fraud
will probably result in you being given a high priority for prosecution.

4. Are you a terrorist or some other kind of threat to public safety?

If anything in your history suggests that you endanger national security
or if you have committed any acts that threaten other people,
you have little chance of being offered a pathway to American citizenship.

5. What ties do you have to your country of origin?

Do you have relatives in your original homeland?
Have you ever sent money to anyone outside the USA?
Would it be easy to re-establish yourself in your original homeland?
Or do conditions in your country of origin mean that you might be killed?


    These factors were listed as a guide to helping clear up the backlog
of cases pending before U.S. immigration judges and courts.
Immigration officials at all levels are hereby granted discretion
to prosecute or not to prosecute each individual case.

    All of the relevant factors should be considered in each case.
And no single factor alone will determine whether or not to prosecute.

    The immigration laws have NOT yet been changed.
There is no immigration reform embodying the principles named above.
But the ICE employees who decide which immigration cases to take to court
are hereby given some guidelines for deciding which cases to pursue
and which cases to drop or postpone.

    All foreign nationals who come to the attention of ICE
will be registered with the Department of Homeland Security.
Because millions of foreign nationals are already settled in the USA,
it would be impossible to deport them all.
Therefore, even at the beginning level of enforcement,
some priorities must be established. 

    Those foreign nationals who are given a low priority for prosecution
(see the first 15 factors above)
are permitted to apply for some form of temporary permission
to continue living and working in the USA.

    Those foreign nationals who are given a high priority for prosecution
(see the second 5 factors above)
will be kept in custody until they can appear before an immigration judge.

    Immigration enforcement will focus on the worse of the worst.

    And I (James Park) would recommend that immigration enforcement
begin first by determining the citizenship
of all 2 million prisoners in U.S. jails and prisons.
Probably only 100,000 of these are foreign nationals
who were arrested for other crimes while living in the USA.
But their immigration status can be investigated
while they are serving their sentences for ordinary crimes.
Where else would we expect to find the "worst of the worst"?

    In the long run, the factors first articulated in the Morton Memo
will probably serve as the basis for immigration reform in the USA.
New factors could be added
as needed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
And these 20 named factors need to be spelled out in greater detail.
Actual experience of applying these guidelines
will show where they need improvement.
(When any such upgraded guidelines are issued,
this Internet file will be revised and/or expanded.)

    Some of the on-line essays linked below
offer other ways to review the cases
of foreign nationals found to be settled in the USA without permission.
Pathways to American citizenship will be the next step
after all foreign nationals are identified and registered.

    News reports suggest that immigration officials
have not yet been following the criteria set forth in this Morton Memo.
After the backlog of cases has been completely processed,
we will know what percentage of foreign nationals were deported
and what percentage were permitted to stay in the USA.

    In the meantime, foreign nationals already settled in the USA
should do their best to create clear documentation
of all of the factors that should favor their staying in America.
And they can create lists of witnesses
who would testify in support of their case for staying.
Both paper records and personal testimony
will be considered by immigration judges.
Unless and until some other numbering system is created,
you can begin to collect your evidence using this numbering system.
How do you answer the 20 questions
that form the backbone of these guidelines concerning deportation?

Created September 23, 2011; Revised 9-28-2011; 10-26-2011; 4-5-2012; 10-25-2013; 9-8-2014;


    James Park is himself a grateful immigrant to the USA.
He was admitted as a child with his whole family in 1949.
And he was naturalized in 1955.
The United States has been enriched by each member of his family.
Immigration reform will allow millions more
to become open, meaningful members of the American family.
Much more about James Park will be found on his website,
an Existential Philosopher's Museum,
which now has more than 1,200 rooms.

    Some of these rooms contain other essays about immigration:

End Deportation of Persons Likely to Qualify for
a Pathway to Citizenship under Immigration Reform

Twelve Million Foreign Nationals in the USA:
How Many Will Stay?

Earning American Citizenship:
Be Above Average

New Criteria for Selecting New Americans

Selecting New Americans

I am an Immigrant  .  

Problems and Solutions:
Keeping the UU Debate Constructive

A Range of Options

If They Cannot Work, They Will Not Come:
And Many Will Return to their Homelands

Born in the USA:
The Easy Way to Become a U.S. Citizen    

Comprehensive Repatriation of Citizens of other Countries and their Families  .    

National Identity File:
Our National Facebook .

links to similar interpretations of the Morton Memo

The new deportation guidelines are NOT amnesty

similar suggested deportation guidelines

End Deportation of Persons Likely to Qualify for
a Pathway to Citizenship under Immigration Reform

Even before immigration reform is enacted,
we can stop deporting foreign nationals who are likely to be offered US citizenship.

Registration without Deportation:
Bringing Millions of Foreign Nationals out of the Shadows

The first step toward comprehensive immigration reform
might be making a list of all citizens of other countries
presently settled in the USA.
Most will be allowed to remain in America.

Earning American Citizenship:
Be Above Average

This essay names 12 criteria likely to be used to allow foreign nationals to remain in the USA
and to help them earn American citizenship.

Twelve Million Foreign Nationals in the USA:
How Many Will Stay?

Immigration reform will decide exactly who can stay and who will return to their homelands.

These and several other on-line essays have now become chapters in a book:
Orderly Immigration: Creating a New America.
And the "Morton Memo Explained" above has become an appendix.

Would you consider joining a Facebook Seminar
discussing this Internet book?
See the complete description of this seminar:

The discussion of all of the issues surrounding immigration reform
takes place in a Facebook Group called:
"Immigration Reform: Changing U.S. Laws":!/groups/431865303561834/

Go to the opening page for this website:
An Existential Philosopher's Museum

The views and opinions expressed in this page are strictly those of the page author.
The contents of this page have not been reviewed or approved by the University of Minnesota.