In a recent communication with Representative Pelosi (D-CA), Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, clarified how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will define “family relationships” when considering whether or not to make enforcement decisions. ICE personnel, according to Napolitano, are given the ability to exercise prosecutorial discretion as appropriate when apprehending, detaining and removing aliens. ICE personnel, according to Napolitano, should consider the “totality of circumstances presented in individual cases, including whether an individual has close family ties to the United States.”
In her letter to Representative Pelosi, Napolitano states that she has directed ICE to disseminate written guidance to its field agents that the phrase “family relationships” should include long-term, same-sex partners. “Family Relationships”, Napolitano asserts, is a factor that is weighed on an individual basis when choosing the best prosecutorial strategy for the individual under consideration.