Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced Wednesday that the agency would cease most of its immigration enforcement operations during the nationwide coronavirus emergency, a move that leaves many spectators concerned about the possibility of illegal aliens taking advantage of the agency’s freeze.
An official ICE statement on the change in approach confirmed that for the time being, the agency is returning to its old Obama Administration-era priority of focusing solely on illegals with felony convictions. The vast majority of illegal immigrants won’t be targeted for immigration enforcement during this time.
The agency will not “will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances.”
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) “will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.”
At the very least, immigration enforcement actions by the agency are being delayed until the presence of the virus passes over.
The approach is similar to that adopted by the law enforcement agencies of several major American cities. Philadelphia’s District Attorney and Police Department have already issued an internal memorandum ordering that individuals committing nominally “petty” crimes such as burglary, vandalism, property theft and prostitution won’t be arrested during the height of the pandemic. Officers will instead retain their information for criminal prosecution at a later date.
However, Customs and Border Patrol is said to be turning away all asylum seekers and illegal immigrants seeking access at the nation’s borders. Federal refugee resettlement has also been suspended for the time being.
Border Patrol Arrests More Aliens at Border in February Than Any Year Since 2006
Customs and Border Patrol detained more aliens at the southern border in February than any other year since 2006. Nearly 100,000 aliens were arrested last month, according to CBP officials who spoke to Reuters. February isn’t usually a big month for crossings at the southern border, with migrants instead usually preferring to try to enter the United States in the spring and summer months.
The surge in illegal immigration directly follows President Joe Biden’s embrace of “America Last” border and asylum policies. It’s hard to tell if the majority of the aliens remain in detention, have been set free into the country, or have been deported under coronavirus expulsion policies. Biden has all but abolished immigration detention for illegals who have been in the United States for an extended period of time, but the rules surrounding migrants who have been recently caught at the southern border are entirely unclear.
CBP officials are expecting 13,000 unaccompanied minors to arrive at the southern border in the month of May alone, presenting a crisis for an administration that has refused to respond to a surge of illegal migration with anything other than promises of residency, welfare benefits, and taxpayer-funded services.
On Wednesday, CBP apprehended more than 4,500 migrants on a single day, a figure that may very well represent a March record. Less arrests usually mean less aliens are infiltrating the borders, a phenomenon that President Trump’s “America First” immigration policies deterred through a combination of border wall, ‘Remain in Mexico’ asylum policies, and swift deportations of illegals.
The Biden administration has refused to consider any buffed border policies to deter new waves of illegal migrants, with ‘caravan’ style formations of thousands of migrants likely to arrive in the spring and the summer. Asylum seekers have appeared at the southern border wearing Biden campaign shirts, touting the establishment politician’s staunch loyalty to illegal immigrants over working and middle-class American citizens.
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