Department of Homeland Secretary (DHS) Alejandro Mayorkas says he wants to make “significant changes” to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) — an agency that has seen a rapid reduction in its enforcement scope and has seen arrests and deportations of illegal immigrants plummet since President Biden took office.
In an interview with The Washington Post, Mayorkas said that his agency is conducting a review of ICE and its priorities, and that he expects “significant changes” when that review is complete.
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“What those changes will be, I am wrestling with right now, quite frankly,” Mayorkas said, the newspaper reported.
It is not clear whether Mayorkas will loosen or tighten the already-strict guidance imposed by the Biden administration on the men and women of ICE in February.
After the Biden administration’s attempt to impose a radical 100-day moratorium on deportations was shut down by a judge in response to a Texas lawsuit, the administration issued new guidance dramatically narrowing the illegal immigrants that ICE officers can target for arrest and deportation.
The new rules limit ICE officers to targeting on recent border crossers, national security threats and “aggravated felons.” While officials note that technically no one is ruled out of being deported, ICE officers who want to arrest someone outside of those categories need preapproval from a superior. Separately, DHS has also now barred ICE from making arrests at or near courthouse
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