The Obama administration has begun its promised review of backlogged deportation cases, focusing on illegal immigrants who have committed crimes or are considered public safety or national security threats.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced the plan in August. An agency memo outlining the new approach says government lawyers will start with a pilot program to look at all new deportation cases in immigration courts.
Other illegal immigrants, including those brought to the U.S. illegally as children, probably will have their cases delayed indefinitely.
The agency also is starting to train field agents on policies that give prosecutors discretion in deciding what cases to pursue.
Republicans say the steps amount to "backdoor amnesty" for illegal immigrants.