U.S. immigration agents ordered to focus on serious criminals, recent border crossers

By Ted Hesson and Kristina Cooke WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government issued interim guidance on Thursday sharply limiting who can be arrested and deported by immigration agents, a move that comes as the Biden administration faces growing pressure from activists to scale back deportations

Reuters February 19, 2021 05:10:48 IST
U.S. immigration agents ordered to focus on serious criminals, recent border crossers

US immigration agents ordered to focus on serious criminals recent border crossers

By Ted Hesson and Kristina Cooke

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. government issued interim guidance on Thursday sharply limiting who can be arrested and deported by immigration agents, a move that comes as the Biden administration faces growing pressure from activists to scale back deportations.

The guidelines instruct Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to focus on immigrants deemed national security and public safety threats and those who entered the United States after Nov. 1, 2020. Agents will need pre-approval from a senior manager if they want to arrest someone who does not fall into one of those categories.

"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," acting ICE Director Tae Johnson said in a statement.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue permanent guidelines within 90 days.

Biden's more lenient approach differs dramatically from that of former President Donald Trump, who allowed ICE agents to pursue low-level offenders and non-criminals, as well as people with long ties to the United States. Some career ICE officials have privately criticized the new priorities, saying they would prevent agents from arresting some criminals and citing the need to get manager approval for non-priority arrests.

On Biden’s first day in office, DHS announced a 100-day pause on most deportations. A federal judge days later blocked it nationwide following a lawsuit by Republican-led Texas, a sign of how Biden’s efforts could be hampered in court.

The Biden administration has also come under pressure from pro-immigrant advocates to scale back enforcement further.

On Thursday, more than 100 organizations led by the We Are Home campaign, which includes some labor unions, called on DHS to halt deportations to Haiti, end all family immigration detention in the next 100 days and close detention facilities "with the most egregious records of rights abuses."

The organizations also urged DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to stop detaining asylum seekers at the southwest border, close lower-priority immigration cases and terminate enforcement agreements with state and local governments, among other demands.

(Reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington and Kristina Cooke in Los Angeles; Editing by Ross Colvin and Dan Grebler)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.