DHS Updates Its Enforcement Priorities
Dallas, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 10, 2022 – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released new immigration enforcement priorities for border agencies on September 30, 2021. The updated guidelines direct immigration officers to exercise discretion and assess the totality of a migrant’s circumstances when making decisions regarding arrests and deportations.
The new DHS guidelines build on early interim guidance issued under the Biden Administration, marking a return to a priority system for immigration enforcement. They are a departure from the aggressive stance adopted by the Trump Administration, which expanded the scope of arrests and deportations.
“The enforcement priorities appropriately place high priority on national security threats, public safety threats and border security threats,” commented Stewart Rabinowitz of the Dallas and Frisco law firm of Rabinowitz & Rabinowitz, P.C. “These latest guidelines are a welcome change from those of the prior Administration.
The Trump Administration listed similar priorities but added — and anyone else whom ICE encounters and believes to be removable — making every removable alien a priority.”
The updated guidance lays out a targeted approach that places a greater emphasis on an officer’s discretion as to whether an individual poses a risk to public safety. The memo calls for each case to be determined based on understanding all the relevant facts and circumstances of a person’s situation.
Terrorism suspects and those who have committed serious crimes will be among the undocumented immigrants prioritized for arrest and deportation. The memo directs immigration officers to consider aggravating factors such as the severity of a crime, serious prior criminal record or weapons use. Mitigating factors outlined in the guidance include a person’s age, length of presence in the United States or whether they were a victim of a crime, among others.