Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain called the Fed’s demand for information from prosecutors an “audacious” ruling- one which clearly crosses constitutional bounds

Victoria Pelham/Cronkite News
February 14, 2012

WASHINGTON – A federal appeals court has taken what some attorneys called the unprecedented step of demanding to know if the government plans to prosecute seven illegal immigrants who have no other criminal record.

The order from a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cites 2011 memos from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that spell out when and how the agency may exercise “prosecutorial discretion” in immigration enforcement cases.

The court, in a series of opinions last week, gave ICE until March 19 to say whether it intends to exercise that discretion in five immigration appeals involving seven individuals.

Each of the defendants fits one or more of the criteria outlined in the 2011 ICE memo: no criminal record, long-term presence in the country, medical issues, or family members who are U.S. citizens, among other elements.

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