Dream Act advocates and activists request deferment for young hardworking students. Others also call for exercising prosecutorial discretion for individuals with longstanding ties to the community and US-citizen family members, which would prevent the break-up of families. In response to these cries for compassion, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) declared in August 2011 that it would institute new initiatives and review the nearly 300,000 pending removal cases to assess whether each meets the higher criminal priority cases.
Many disagree with this temporary band-aid for immigration reform. Harsh immigration critic, Tanton-network ally, and University of San Diego (USD) professor Peter Nunez argues that “Every person in the US illegally, [sic] and every legal immigrant who commits a ‘deportable offense’, [sic] is subject to deportation [….] The DHS should always process any violators who fall into its lap, in addition to those who fit the established priorities.”
Others like USD Professor David Shirk hold a different point of view. Shirk said, “When you have 10 million to 12 million people—roughly 3% of the US population—living in the shadows, you need to determine where to prioritize scarce resources. It would actually be in our own best interest to find ways to help boost the Mexican economy, the second-largest market for US exports (after Canada). Instead, we ignore the causes and focus on the symptoms.”