President Joe Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has issued new “sanctuary country” orders by which Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents are warned against arresting and deporting most criminal illegal aliens unless they pose a “current threat to public safety.” In February, DHS officials issued initial orders that prevented ICE agents from arresting and deporting criminal illegal aliens unless they had been recently convicted of an aggravated felony or had been identified as a known gang member or terrorist. On Thursday, new orders were issued by DHS officials to replace the previous sanctuary country orders that are currently being challenged in federal court for freeing criminal illegal aliens into the United States interior. “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen, therefore, should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them,” the orders state. ICE agents are instructed not to arrest and deport criminal illegal aliens unless they pose a “current threat to public safety.” The orders require ICE agents to factor in a number of reasons as to why a criminal illegal alien should not be arrested and deported.
Those reasons can include:
advanced or tender age;
lengthy presence in the United States;
a mental condition that may have contributed to the criminal conduct, or a physical or mental condition requiring care or treatment;
status as a victim of crime or victim, witness, or party in legal proceedings;
the impact of removal on family in the United States, such as loss of provider or caregiver;
whether the noncitizen may be eligible for humanitarian protection or other immigration relief;
military or other public service of the noncitizen or their immediate family;
time since an offense and evidence of rehabilitation;
conviction was vacated or expunged
“The overriding question is whether the noncitizen poses a current threat to public safety,” the orders state. The orders ask ICE agents to “not rely on the fact of conviction or the result of a database search alone” that may match an identified criminal illegal alien but rather “obtain and review the entire criminal and administrative record and other investigative information to learn of the totality of the facts and circumstances of the conduct at issue.” Likewise, ICE agents can only arrest and deport criminal illegal aliens when they are “suspected of terrorism or espionage, or terrorism-related or espionage-related activities” and those who illegally crossed U.S. borders after November 1, 2020.