Do immigration officials exercise discretion over deportations?

Immigration policy has been a media topic of late, stemming in part from reactions to several of President Trump’s executive orders. Although a federal appellate court recently enjoined the travel ban imposed by one order, another executive order calling for more enforcement and deportations may still be in effect.

A recent story provides new context for the human impact of this complicated issue. The story involves an undocumented immigrant from Mexico. For about for years, the woman had voluntarily reported to the central Phoenix offices of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, where federal ICE authorities declined to take enforcement action against her. That leniency was perhaps partly due to her family connections: She has a husband, as well as two children who are U.S.-born citizens. After her most recent check-in, however, officials detained her.

The transition from former President Obama’s deportation scheme to the new administration’s immigration policies may raise many questions, such as this example. Individuals who were exempt under the former policies may now be in danger of deportation.