US Immigration and Customs Enforcement is preparing to roll out new guidelines that would curtail enforcement measures, focusing more narrowly on immigrants who pose a national security, border security or public safety risk, according to draft interim guidance obtained by CNN.
The new guidance was prompted by an executive order signed by President Joe Biden shortly after taking office and marks a return to Obama-era immigration enforcement measures based on a priority system instead of the more aggressive approach taken under the Trump administration.
The draft memo establishes strict parameters for ICE officers, particularly in the event that an undocumented immigrant is encountered in the course of an enforcement operation, and appears intended to restrain an agency emboldened under the last administration.
CNN reached out to ICE for comment.
“The approval to carry out an enforcement action against a particular noncitizen will not authorize enforcement actions against other noncitizens encountered during an operation if those noncitizens fall outside the presumption criteria identified above,” the memo reads.
The memo also directs field offices to coordinate their operations and obtain pre-approval for enforcement and removal actions that don’t meet the criteria of priority cases. Those priorities are broken into three groups: national security, border security and public safety.
The national security category includes individuals who, for example, have engaged in or are suspected to be engaged in terrorism or terrorism-related activities or espionage, according to the memo.
The second priority group focuses on border security and includes people apprehended at the border or port of entry on or after November 1, 2020.
By Maria Santana and Priscilla Alvarez for CNN
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