Effective November 29, being in the United States illegally is no longer sufficient alone to earn deportation, according to new immigration enforcement guidelines released by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas on Thursday.
“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,” said Sec. Mayorkas. “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. As we strive to provide them with a path to status, we will not work in conflict by spending resources seeking to remove those who do not pose a threat and, in fact, make our Nation stronger.”
The guidance said enforcement priorities are focused on illegal immigrants who pose a “threat to our national security, public safety, and border security.” Enforcement now requires an “assessment of the individual and the totality of the facts and circumstances.”
“There is also recognition that the majority of the more than 11 million undocumented or otherwise removable noncitizens in the United States have been contributing members of our communities across the country for years,” the guidance stated. “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen will not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.”
The Biden administration’s new immigration guidelines come just one week after more than 10,000 Haitian migrants entered the United States illegally and camped out under the international bridge in Del Rio, overwhelming U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents.
“Irregular migration of the type that we are witnessing poses a serious threat to the migrants themselves,” Mayorkas said, according to the Miami Herald. “Trying to enter the United States this way is not worth the tragedy, the money or the effort.”
Despite his tough language warning migrants not to come to the U.S., Sec. Mayorkas later admitted between 10,000 and 12,000 illegal Haitian immigrants were released into the U.S.
“They’re released on conditions. Approximately, I think it’s about 10,000 or so, 12,000,” Mayorkas told Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace.
Of the nearly 5,000 that were still being processed at the time of the interview, Mayorkas added that the Biden administration “will make determinations whether they will be returned to Haiti based on our public health and public interest authorities.”
“So are we talking about a total of 12,000 or it could be even higher?” Wallace asked.
“It could be even higher,” Mayorkas responded.