Jan. 19 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Homeland Security Department urges closing more than 1,600 deportation cases of people who don’t pose a danger and focus resources instead on illegal immigrants who are criminals and national security threats, a federal immigration official said.
In a pilot program begun last month to speed reviews, 30 federal prosecutors in Denver and Baltimore reviewed 11,682 cases and recommended closing 1,667 of them, said the official, who wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the initiative. The recommendations are being given to judges handling the cases of the detainees.
Federal lawyers are undertaking a slower review of an additional 280,000 deportation cases in the rest of the country, the official said.
The program is part of the Obama administration’s effort, announced last year, to concentrate more on deporting those who are threats to public safety rather than those whose only crime may have been crossing the border illegally. The Republican presidential candidates have said the Obama administration hasn’t done enough to stem the flow of illegal immigration.
The effort also gives priority to deporting those who have re-entered the U.S. illegally after being sent to their home country, recent border crossers and people who have ignored deportation orders, the official said.
--With assistance from Justin Blum in Washington. Editor: Steven Komarow, Jim Rubin.
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