DHS Issues New Guidance to Enforce Immigration Law

DHS issues new detention and deportation parameters

DHS issues new detention and deportation parameters

On Thursday, September 30, 2021, DHS (Department of Homeland Security) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas issued new guidance to enforce immigration law both at the borders and within the US, that is, to address irregular migration.

Mayorkas openly states that the Department is aware that there are currently about 11 million immigrants residing in the US undocumented, but also explains that the resources of immigration agencies are limited and, therefore, it is imperative to prioritize scenarios for arresting and deporting undocumented foreigners.

It is worth clarifying that DHS is the head of federal entities such as ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) and CBP (Customs and Border Protection), which are in charge of enforcing immigration law across the US, including border regions.

Therefore, the new guidelines seek to establish the discretion necessary to determine how to use existing resources to effectively enforce immigration law.

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The DHS proposal to improve the deportation system

To achieve the goal of optimizing the immigration enforcement process, DHS proposes to prioritize arrests and deportations of undocumented individuals who pose a threat to:

  • National Security.
  • Public Safety, which includes individuals who have committed or participated in certain crimes or offenses.
  • Border Security.

Adding to that, the DHS Secretary states that, in order to implement this new guidance efficiently, immigration officers must have access to ongoing training and case review, which will allow them to understand what the priorities are for arresting and deporting undocumented foreigners under these new parameters.

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The new guidance changes the government’s approach to irregular migration

The new memo by the DHS Secretary undoubtedly outlines a prominent shift compared to immigration law enforcement under former President Donald Trump’s administration between 2017 and January 2021.

In fact, Trump’s DHS focused on arresting and deporting a high number of undocumented immigrants on a daily basis, which overwhelmed immigration detention centers and significantly limited the resources of immigration agencies.

Now, Biden’s DHS seeks to take a slightly different approach to efficiently allocate federal resources while protecting the US immigration laws.

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