We are removing hundreds of thousands of people who pose no threat to our communities and are destroying families. While fundamental changes to the immigration system can only be done through reform of our laws, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) can immediately act to protect families and ensure that enforcement practices satisfy due process, equal rights, and human dignity. Here is the first thing that DHS should do:

Exercise Prosecutorial Discretion

Every person apprehended should be screened for prosecutorial discretion. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not applied its own policies effectively or consistently, while Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not published any policy on prosecutorial discretion. Discretion should particularly focus on: 1) Close family of: U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); and 2) Individuals who have long resided in the United States or have other strong community ties. DHS can designate specific categories of individuals for whom it will suspend enforcement action. For example, in 2012, DHS announced that DACA program, whereby deferred action was granted for individuals who came to the United States as children and meet stated criteria. Immediate Relatives of those who serve in the U.S. military have also benefited through Parole in Place. DHS has tools it can apply immediately.