ICE Announces New Deportation Priority Groups

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tae Johnson announced new deportation priority groups in a memo released Thursday. The agency will now prioritize those who pose a threat to public safety or national security for deportation. National security threats are defined as noncitizens suspected of terrorism or espionage, while public safety threats refer to noncitizens convicted of aggravated felonies or involved in criminal organizations. ICE officers must consider the “extensiveness, seriousness, and recency of criminal activity” when evaluating the individual as a threat to public safety. The memo also includes new arrivals in this priority deportation list, specifically those who arrived in the United States after November 1st, 2020.

The memo includes some positive provisions as well. It erects administrative barriers to mass deportations and implements oversight measures. Officers are also required to examine “personal and family circumstances, health and medical factors, ties to the community, evidence of rehabilitation and whether the individual has potential immigration relief available” before considering someone for priority deportation.

The move is a significant improvement in immigration policy when compared to the policies of previous presidents. The Obama administration targeted noncitizens with only one “significant misdemeanor.” Even worse, any immigrant could have been targeted by ICE regardless of their background during the Trump-era. However, many progressives raise the concern that Biden was not able to break fully from the deportation policies of the past. Hopefully, the Biden administration will continue to weaken ICE even further and preserve the rights of all immigrants.

Read the Full Official Memo Here: https://www.ice.gov/doclib/news/releases/2021/021821_civil-immigration-enforcement_interim-guidance.pdf