White House press secretary Jen Psaki defended President Joe Biden’s administration on Monday for new orders that will slow deportations of illegal immigrants for drug crimes, driving under the influence, and assaults.
The Washington Post reported Sunday that new operational guidelines for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) asked agents to prioritize deportations of “aggravated felony convictions” over drug-based crimes, simple assault, and DUIs.
“The priority for the enforcement of immigration laws will be on those who are imposing a national security threat, of course, a public safety threat, and on recent arrivals,” Psaki said during the White House press briefing when asked about the new guidelines.
She clarified that illegal immigrants should be prosecuted for crimes, even though the Biden administration was working to reduce the number of criminals deported for breaking the law.
“Nobody is saying that DUIs or assaults are acceptable behavior, and those arrested for such activities should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement,” she said. “But we’re talking about the prioritization of who is going to be deported from the country.”
Psaki also said ICE agents will focus, instead, on deporting illegals representing the “greatest national security threat.”
Former President Donald Trump empowered ICE to pursue deportation of all criminals and gang members, which angered amnesty activists and sparked calls from the far left to “abolish ICE.”
During Biden’s campaign for president, activists pressured him not only to criticize President Trump but the deportations of illegal immigrants under former President Barack Obama’s administration.
“I think it was a big mistake. Took too long to get it right,” he said about Obama’s deportation record in an interview in February 2020.