Officials at the Department of Homeland Security have deleted a standard that previously warned those who have overstayed their visas were at risk of deportation.
The Washington Times reported that the directive to remove the warning was issued by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which was apparently worried about “placing undue stress” on immigrants.
“This guidance will ensure the Agency is not placing undue stress on the customer who believes he/she may or may not receive an NTA based on the information provided in their denial notification,” the directive read, according to the Times.
The directive was an effort to roll “back a Trump policy that anyone who applied but was rejected for legal immigration status should be referred for deportation, through what’s known in government-speak as an NTA, or Notice to Appear,” the outlet reported.
The DHS not only rolled back the policy, but it also completely deleted the deportation warning. More from the Times:
The agency confirmed the move, saying it was carrying out an Inauguration Day change by the new administration revoking Trump-era moves but suggested it was still in the early stages of working through the update.
“USCIS will issue additional implementation guidance on this issue in the near future,” the agency said.
Notices to appear are akin to a summons for immigration court, where a judge would rule on whether the migrant has the right to stay.
They are traditionally issued by agents and officers at Customs and Border Protection who encounter illegal immigrants at the border and by Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers who come across illegal immigrants in the interior.
But USCIS, as an immigration agency, has always had the same authority, and the Trump team in 2018 said it would begin to flex that power.
Jessica Vaughan, the Center for Immigration Studies’ policy studies director, told the Times that the warning should still be included as a statement of law.
“There’s no reason not to warn the rejected applicants that they are potentially removable, even if they are not a priority,” she told the outlet.
She added that calling these people “customers” was unwise.
“They brazenly tried to exploit our immigration system, but are to be treated as customers who must be treated gently, and definitely not be frightened by the suggestion that they should leave before they are removed,” she said.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, President Joe Biden has signaled a much softer approach to illegal immigration, with executive orders aimed at reversing Trump administration policies. One of the orders seeks to reunite families who were separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. Others demand a review of Trump administration policies. Another requires the State Department, Justice Department, and DHS to review Trump-era guidelines.
Biden’s DHS has also stated that illegal immigrants should get the COVID-19 vaccine.
“DHS and its Federal government partners fully support equal access to the COVID-19 vaccines and vaccine distribution sites for undocumented immigrants. It is a moral and public health imperative to ensure that all individuals residing in the United States have access to the vaccine. DHS encourages all individuals, regardless of immigration status, to receive the COVID-19 vaccine once eligible under local distribution guidelines,” the statement said. “Consistent with ICE’s long-standing sensitive locations policy, ICE does not and will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances.