New Guidance for ICE on Immigrants Who've Been Victims of Crime Is Released

Masked man holding "stop turning away refugees" signMasked man holding "stop turning away refugees" sign
Getty Images

The Biden administration has instructed ICE agents not to detain or deport immigrants that have been victims of violence, regardless of their documentation status.

New instructions for ICE agents regarding their interactions with immigrants were released on Wednesday.

Per the Biden administration, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will now refrain from detaining or deporting immigrants who have been victims of a crime.

There are exceptions for extraordinary circumstances where ICE agents are required to request permission from the top officials of the agency to circumvent this new change.

The policy also encourages ICE agents to use their discretion in situations that involve pending immigration benefits designed to protect victims of crimes like trafficking and domestic abuse, according to CBS News. 

The Biden administration supports the restrictions, as the agency could then focus its resources on those who have committed serious crimes. 

Republican members of the government have voiced concern that these changes encourage people to come to the U.S. and stay in the country without proper documentation, according to CBS.

Interim ICE Director Tae Johnson told agents in a memo that this change could encourage those without documentation to engage with law enforcement after incidents. 

Johnson wrote in his memo, "When victims have access to humanitarian protection, regardless of their immigration status, and can feel safe in coming forward, it strengthens the ability of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including ICE, to detect, investigate, and prosecute crimes," according to CBS.

Related Stories