On November 20, 2014, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued several new initiatives in terms of prioritizing civil immigration enforcement matters. See "Policies for the apprehension, detention and removal of undocumented immigrants," available at http://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications. There, the Secretary issued guidance on how DHS attorneys should implement and carry out enforcement priorities, and when DHS attorneys should exercise prosecutorial discretion.
OPPM 15-01 reiterates the importance of the burden DHS now has to identify whether pending cases in the removal system are enforcement priorities. If not, DHS is expected to notify the court and Respondent as early in the removal proceeding as possible. By doing this, DHS would be able to properly conserve resources and devote importance to high priority cases (for example, aliens apprehended at the port of entry, aggravated felons, or aliens who cannot establish to the Department's satisfaction that they were present in the U.S. prior to January 1, 2014).
Further, OPPM 15-01 directs Immigration Judges to be prepared to ask ICE attorneys at master calendar hearings, on the record, whether the case remains a removal priority for ICE and whether ICE is seeking termination or administrative closure. That way, judges can properly use docketing tools to attempt to ensure a fair and tiny resolution of cases before them. The role of the immigration court is to resolve disputes. See OPPM13-01.
So at the respondent's next master calendar hearing, not only should the ICE attorney be prepared to notify the court as well as the respondent whether his/her case is an enforcement priority (if the ICE attorney has not already previously done so), but the ICE attorney should also be prepared to take the next necessary steps based on the categorization of the respondent's case per the November 20, 2014 Johnson memo. Furthermore, the immigration judge should ask the ICE attorney on the record whether the case remains a removal priority or whether termination and/or administrative closure would be an adequate measure.