Changes Seen in Immigration Policy

The U.S. Supreme Court's unanimous decision on May 4, that the federal government was wrong to prosecute illegal immigrants for identity theft in certain types of cases, is the latest of several rulings and policy announcements that are effectively rolling back immigration policies initiated by the George W. Bush administration. In Flores-Figueroa v. United States, the court said the federal government was wrong to charge Ignacio Carlos Flores-Figueroa with identity theft when he was found to have used someone else's Social Security and alien registration numbers in documents for employment. The case could have implications for other immigrants who have faced similar charges under a tough prosecution strategy employed in recent years.

The Supreme Court decision came three days after a federal district court in California ordered the federal government to reopen the cases of dozens of immigrant widows who had married U.S. citizens but whose spouses had died before the widows’ applications for green cards could be processed. In some of those cases, the immigrants with pending applications for legal residency were deported.

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