President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas says the agency’s new so-called “sanctuary country” orders will ensure that the “majority” of illegal aliens living in the United States are not deported.
On Monday, Mayorkas announced that the administration has started implementing its latest sanctuary country orders that protect most criminal illegal aliens by barring Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents from arresting and deporting them.
“Today is an important step forward in ensuring that our workforce is empowered to exercise its prosecutorial discretion and focus its enforcement efforts on those who pose a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security,” Mayorkas said:
DHS will carry out our mission to safeguard our country justly and humanely. In making our enforcement decisions, we will focus our efforts on the greatest threats while also recognizing that the majority of undocumented noncitizens, who have been here for many years and who have contributed positively to our country’s well-being, are not priorities for removal. [Emphasis added]
In February, DHS officials issued initial orders that prevented ICE agents from arresting and deporting criminal illegal aliens unless they had been recently convicted of an aggravated felony or had been identified as a known gang member or terrorist.
Those initial orders are being challenged in federal court.
“The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen, therefore, should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” the new orders state.
The orders ask ICE agents to “not rely on the fact of conviction or the result of a database search alone” that may match an identified criminal illegal alien but rather “obtain and review the entire criminal and administrative record and other investigative information to learn of the totality of the facts and circumstances of the conduct at issue.”
ICE agents are instructed not to arrest and deport criminal illegal aliens unless they pose a “current threat to public safety.” The orders require ICE agents to factor in a number of reasons as to why a criminal illegal alien should not be arrested and deported.
Those reasons can include:
- advanced or tender age; lengthy presence in the United States;
- a mental condition that may have contributed to the criminal conduct, or a physical or mental condition requiring care or treatment;
- status as a victim of crime or victim, witness, or party in legal proceedings;
- the impact of removal on family in the United States, such as loss of provider or caregiver;
- whether the noncitizen may be eligible for humanitarian protection or other immigration relief;
- military or other public service of the noncitizen or their immediate family;
- time since an offense and evidence of rehabilitation;
- conviction was vacated or expunged
In addition, last month, Mayorkas issued a list of “protected areas” where ICE agents are barred from arresting illegal aliens. Those areas include schools, healthcare facilities, places of worship, playgrounds, childcare centers, school bus stops, crisis centers, homeless shelters, rehab facilities, food banks, disaster relief centers, funerals, weddings, protests, rallies, and parades.
Center for Immigration Studies analyst and former DHS official Jon Feere plotted all the locations in the Washington, D.C. area where ICE agents are banned from arresting illegal aliens — revealing few locations that are not “protected areas.”
The agency’s previous orders had successfully freed into the U.S. criminal illegal aliens accused and convicted of child sex crimes, armed robbery, drunk driving, burglary, cocaine trafficking, grand theft auto, heroin trafficking, credit card fraud, money laundering, and other crimes.