ICE Reduces Arrests of Illegal Aliens amid Wuhan Fears

YAKIMA, WA - FEBRUARY 18: Agents working for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) prepare to board detainees onto a Swift Air charter flight at McCormick Air Center on February 18, 2020 in Yakima, Washington. The U.S. Justice Department is suing King County after it banned ICE from operating charter …
David Ryder/Getty Images

The nation’s immigration enforcement agency is reducing its arrests of illegal migrants amid growing fears of a coronavirus outbreak in federal detention centers.

“ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds,” said a press statement issued on March 18. “For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.”

“This is a return to ‘felons, not families,'” which was the policy adopted by President Barack Obama, said Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a pro-migration advocate at the American Immigration Council. “Though I strongly suspect ICE will not revert to the prosecutorial discretion policies of the Obama administration and that this will primarily impact who is targeted for arrest,” he added.

Up to 50,000 recent migrants and violent illegal migrants are already detained in centers around the nation. Federal courtrooms remain open while their deportation cases are being processed, according to pro-migration lawyers.

The statement was released after President Donald Trump said he would block additional visitors, migrants, and asylum seekers at the southern and northern borders. The statement, however, did not say if the United States has permission from Mexico’s government to return migrants from Mexico back into Mexico after they are caught at the border.

White-collar immigration lawyers and pro-migration groups are still demanding that Trump admit the roughly 30,000 migrants who have been sent back to Mexico before their asylum hearings in the United States.

The large population of illegal residents in the United States reduces wages for blue-collar Americans — especially amid the economic crash spurred by migrants from China.

The ICE statement continued:

Homeland Security Investigations will continue to carry out mission critical criminal investigations and enforcement operations as determined necessary to maintain public safety and national security. Examples include investigations into child exploitation, gangs, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling, and continued participation on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. This work will be conducted based on ability to coordinate and work with prosecutors from the Department of Justice and intake at both the U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Prisons.

The statement also said that ICE would not arrest migrants who are seeking medical care because of China’s disease:

Consistent with its sensitive locations policy, during the COVID-19 crisis, ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.

Numerous cities and countries have begun releasing American criminals to reduce the risk of disease outbreaks. It is not clear what the released criminals will do to earn a living.


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