(FiveNation.com)- Immigration and Customs Enforcement has taken on a completely different role under President Joe Biden. Now, Alejandro Mayorkas, the secretary of Homeland Security, wants to make even more “significant changes” to the agency.
Under Biden, ICE has seen a huge reduction in the scope of its enforcement. Deportations and arrests of illegal immigrants have gone down substantially in just the last few months.
According to a Washington Post report, Mayorkas said DHS is already reviewing the priorities of ICE. When the review is finished, he said there would be “significant changes” to how it looks and operates.
He told the Post that he’s “wrestling” with what those changes will be at the moment. It’s unclear whether he plans to tighten the guidance that was placed on ICE by the Biden administration back in February, or loosen them.
Upon entering the White House, Biden tried to impose a moratorium on all deportations for 100 days. That, however, was rejected by a federal judge in Texas.
That didn’t stop Biden from plowing forward, though. His administration decided to issue guidance that narrowed the rules that ICE officers used to target illegal immigrants for arrest and eventual deportation.
Under the rules, ICE officers can only target “recent border crossers,” any people deemed threats to national security or any “aggravated felons.” If an ICE officer wants to arrest someone who doesn’t fall within these categories, they must first have approval from one of their superiors in the department.
In addition, Homeland Security placed a ban on ICE officers making arrests near or at courthouses.
While the new guidance is only temporary — for now — it’s already had a dramatic effect on deportations. In April, there were less than 3,000 deportations of illegal immigrants. That marked a 20% drop from a month earlier.
It’s not just deportations that are down considerably, either. Arrests went from 5,118 in the month of January to just a little more than 2,000 in April.
ICE is also releasing many more individuals from custody into the United States. Under former President Donald Trump, ICE released anywhere from 2,500 to 3,600 immigrants per month into the U.S. from October 2020 to January 2021.
That immediately shot up to 4,782 in February — Biden’s first full month in office. Those numbers took a massive jump up to almost 12,000 in March, and then increased to almost 13,000 in April.
A spokesman for ICE told Fox News in early May:
“We continue to use the civil immigration enforcement priorities to focus our resources on threats to national security, border security and public safety. ICE will continue to carry out the duties of enforcing the laws of the United States to further the security and safety of our communities.”
While Republicans have accused the Biden administration of basically doing away with ICE, Mayorkas has commented publicly that he has a completely new vision for ICE. He told the Washington Post:
“I really am focused on it becoming a premier national security and law enforcement agency. I really want to elevate all of the other work [ICE] does and also ensure that its civil immigration work is well-focused in the service of the national security and public safety mission.”