The United States (US) government will clarify who its immigration authorities may arrest and deport, said Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Thursday (30/9).
This is a major departure from the hardline approach previously adopted by former president Trump.
The new guidelines published Thursday will give immigration officials greater latitude to make decisions on a case-by-case basis, Mayorkas said.
However, people who are considered a threat to national security or public safety as well as new border crossers will be the main focus of the new guidelines.
Immigrants who have been in the United States for a long period of time, who are elderly or young, or whose family members will be adversely affected by deportation, will not be arrested, said the memo published on Thursday.
Another factor that can change a deportation decision is that the person has served in the military, or that a member of his or her family or the migrant himself has been the victim of a crime. This memo was sent to the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), and the Border Protection Agency (CBP). This guide will take effect in 60 days.
President Biden, who is a Democrat, has vowed to take a more humane approach to immigration policy than his predecessor, Trump.
Under Trump, ICE agents were told that no immigrants are exempt from immigration enforcement, including low-level offenders and people who have committed no crime. Groups of migrants who have been in the United States for many years are also exempt from immigration policies during the Trump administration. (jm/my)