Immigration chiefs have offered to shelve 7.5% of cases under a massive review of the backlogged US system which is aiming to deport more criminals.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has offered to temporarily suspend the deportation cases of around 16,500 people after reviewing more than 70% of the pending immigration cases as of mid-April, according to statistics released by the agency.
ICE officials said 2,700 cases had been shelved. The rest still require paperwork and background checks. It was not immediately clear how many immigrants had been told of the offer or how many had accepted it.
The Obama administration announced in August that about 300,000 deportation cases would be reviewed and non-criminals and those illegal immigrants who posed no public safety or national security threat would probably have their cases put on hold indefinitely.
The move was welcomed by immigrant advocates but condemned by critics who called the programme an attempt by the administration to work around Congress. Since then, however, immigrant advocates have complained that the government is offering to apply so-called prosecutorial discretion in too few instances, and that those whose deportation cases are put on the back burner still do not get a work permit.