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ICE now lets illegal immigrants challenge deportations and detentions

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Officers. (ICE/Released)
March 08, 2021

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced a review process Friday that allows illegal immigrants to challenge detention and deportation.

According to a statement from the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO), the ICE Case Review process is meant for individuals who “believe their case does not align with ICE’s enforcement, detention and removal priorities.”

Requests for review can be made through an individual’s local ERO field office, and those currently detained or facing imminent deportation will be prioritized in the review process, ICE said.

“This process continues efforts to further the development of an orderly immigration system that treats individuals humanely while ensuring national security, border security and public safety,” the statement read.

The new process is an exercise of “prosecutorial discretion,” the statement said, offering an additional channel for illegal immigrants and their representatives “to resolve questions and concerns, consistent with the law, policy, and interests of justice.”

Tae D. Johnson, acting director of ICE, said the agency is dedicated to providing illegal immigrants with multiple channels of communication to clarify individual cases.

“The case review process provides an avenue for noncitizens and their representatives to request further review of the individual facts and circumstances of their case in light of ICE’s priorities for enforcement, detention, and removal, offering additional transparency into the immigration process,” the director said.

The new review process builds on a number of moves that the Biden administration has made since taking office in January, including new rules issued last month requiring ICE officers to make written requests for supervisors’ approval to deport “low priority” illegal immigrants, including drunken drivers, certain domestic assault offenders, identity theft convicts and other felons whose crimes aren’t “aggravated.”

Homeland Security officials did not say the number of deportations they anticipate will be canceled as a result of the new rules. Each case will be judged based on outside factors like family ties, officials said.

The Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security announced a plan to begin processing an estimated 25,000 asylum-seekers who were forced to “remain in Mexico” under former President Donald Trump. The immigrants will be released in El Paso and Brownsville, Texas, and San Diego, Calif.

“As President Biden has made clear, the U.S. government is committed to rebuilding a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system,” said Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas in a statement. “This latest action is another step in our commitment to reform immigration policies that do not align with our nation’s values.”

The new administration has also ended construction of Trump’s border wall and emergency declaration and introduced a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants.