US will no longer deport migrants solely because of documentation status: DHS
- ICE officers were told to focus on national and border security
- Around 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the US
- The new guidelines will be put in place by November 29
United States immigration officers will no longer have the authority to deport or detain individuals solely on the basis of their documentation status, United States Secretary for Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas announced on Thursday.
Officers of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement were directed to shift their focus on those individuals who can pose a threat to the national and border security of the United States. The instructions were given as a set of guidelines in a memo.
The new categorisation will include those who are suspected of espionage and terrorism. Additionally, individuals who have crossed the southern border of the United States after November 1, 2020 and have been associated with serious crimes will also fall under the same category.
Each case shall be looked at individually to determine if the suspected person would fall under any of the categories provided by the memo, according to a press release from the United States Department of Homeland Security.
Secretary Mayorkas said in a statement, "For the first time, our guidelines will, in the pursuit of public safety, require an assessment of the individual and take into account the totality of the facts and circumstances", the Homeland Security press release says.
He added, "In exercising this discretion, we are guided by the knowledge that there are individuals in our country who have been here for generations and contributed to our country’s well-being, including those who have been on the frontline in the battle against COVID, lead congregations of faith, and teach our children."
Roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the US, according to the memo.
The new guidelines issued by the Department of Homeland Security will be put in place beginning November 29 this year while Secretary Mayorkas is "expected to issue additional immigration-related policy memos in the coming weeks."
"A noncitizen’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity, national origin, political associations, or exercise of First Amendment rights cannot be factors in deciding to take enforcement action", the press release said.