Under the latest guidance from the Biden administration, ICE would concentrate on three categories of immigrants: those who pose a threat to national security; those who have passed the border since Nov. 1, and those who performed "aggravated felonies."
The guidance is temporary, remaining for three months until the Department of Homeland Security can announce additional guidance. Officials announced the guidance does not explicitly bar anyone from being arrested or deported. Rather, it directs resources at certain targets. Though, field officers attempting to arrest someone outside of those three categories would need permission from their chain of command.
"By focusing our limited resources on cases that present threats to national security, border security, and public safety, our agency will more ably and effectively execute its law enforcement mission," ICE acting Director Tae Johnson announced in a statement. "Like every law enforcement agency at the local, state, and federal level, we must prioritize our efforts to achieve the greatest security and safety impact."
The new guidance further requires ICE to present weekly arrest reports to DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The guidelines further give the agency a place to let illegal immigrants stay in the country, with officers told to consider factors such as links to the community and personal circumstances -- including those who have a severe physical or mental illness.
Biden’s DHS had attempted to impose a 100-day moratorium on deportations though had been barred by a federal judge due to a lawsuit by Texas. While the new guidance limits
agents, it is a far cry from that radical measure.
Though it is the latest step to liberalize the U.S. approach to illegal immigration from the more difficult approach under former President Donald Trump. On Thursday, congressional Democrats revealed a bill supported by Biden that would grant a pathway to citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants.
Sen. Bob Menendez announced: "To those who want to call this bill amnesty, I know there are some, Ten angels could come swearing from above that this is the best tailored legislation, that it will secure our border, regularize our system and they would say, ‘No, it's amnesty’ -- they will never be satisfied."
The U.S. Citizenship Act of 2021 presents an eight-year path to citizenship for illegal immigrants, who the White House has estimated to be at 11 million people, though other estimates have set much higher.
Biden has further moved to roll back the Migrant Protection Protocols, finished the Trump-era travel bans, and stopped the construction of the wall at the southern border -- moves that have been strongly opposed by congressional Republicans.