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DHS deletes deportation warning to illegal immigrants to avoid causing ‘undue stress,’ report says

This photo comes from the second national wave of Operation Cross Check, an effort by ICE to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants with criminal records. (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement/Released)
February 08, 2021

Department of Homeland Security officials on Wednesday deleted a standard warning sent to immigrants who face deportation due to overstayed visas out of concerns that the practice could make illegal immigrants feel “undue stress.”

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services issued the directive to remove the warning, which said, “This guidance will ensure the Agency is not placing undue stress on the customer who believes he/she may or may not receive an NTA based on the information provided in their denial notification,” said the directive, which was viewed by Washington Times.

The order reverses a Trump policy that referred migrants for deportation when their application for legal immigration is rejected, a process officially known as Notice to Appear (NTA). An NTA is comparable to a summons to immigration court where a judge determines whether the migrant is permitted to stay in the country, the Times said.

NTAs are typically issued by Customs and Border Protection agents and officers who encounter migrants at the border, as well as Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who encounter illegal immigrants throughout the United States.

“USCIS will issue additional implementation guidance on this issue in the near future,” the agency said.

Center for Immigration Studies’ policy studies director Jessica Vaughan told the Times that the notice should continue to be used as a statement of law.

“There’s no reason not to warn the rejected applicants that they are potentially removable, even if they are not a priority,” she told the Times.

Vaughan also noted that referring to the immigrants as “customers” was imprudent.

“They brazenly tried to exploit our immigration system, but are to be treated as customers who must be treated gently, and definitely not be frightened by the suggestion that they should leave before they are removed,” she said.

The move is yet another signal from the Biden administration that it will take a more lax approach to immigration policy. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order that terminated former-President Trump’s national emergency declaration of the United States’ southern border and canceled border wall funding, calling the project “not a serious policy solution.”

In the order, Biden said that while the United States has the right and duty to secure its borders and protect Americans from threats, a “massive wall that spans the entire southern border” is a “waste of money that diverts attention from genuine threats to our homeland security.”

“My Administration is committed to ensuring that the United States has a comprehensive and humane immigration system that operates consistently with our Nation’s values,” the order stated. “In furtherance of that commitment, I have determined that the declaration of a national emergency at our southern border in Proclamation 9844 of February 15, 2019 (Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Southern Border of the United States), was unwarranted.  It shall be the policy of my Administration that no more American taxpayer dollars be diverted to construct a border wall.  I am also directing a careful review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct a southern border wall.”