U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is continuing to roll back Trump administration rules, now reportedly bypassing the detainment or deportation of illegal migrants who are suspected of being victims of crime.
The new ICE policy is known as a “victim-centered approach” to enforcement, according to a Forbes report.
“ICE will now avoid taking action against undocumented immigrants who applied for special visas offered to victims of, , , or other serious crimes, according to a ,” the report noted.
Immigration agents, swamped by the Biden border crisis, are expected to “look out for evidence people were victims of crimes,” even if the migrant in question has not yet applied for protection. Agents will have to offer the migrants “information on visa applications and guidance on reporting their crimes to law enforcement agencies,” per Forbes.
“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,” the ICE directive said.
Witnesses in ongoing criminal investigations will bypass deportation.
There are exceptions to the new guidance. An illegal migrant who is a victim of crime may be detained or deported if they are “deemed a national security risk or could physically endanger somebody else.”
Months ago, President Joe Biden tapped Vice President Kamala Harris to handle the border crisis amid enormous backlash. Still, the porous border continues to be a threat to the U.S. and a humanitarian issue.
There is also the issue of COVID-19. As cities and states start to tighten lockdown restrictions over supposed virus precaution, two government officials confirmed a 40% positive Covid infection rate from migrants crossing the Mexico/Texas border, according to the Washington Examiner:
Since late spring, Border Patrol officials in the Rio Grande Valley region have transported thousands of migrant families to Laredo because shelters were less inundated than those in McAllen. Migrants were immediately tested at the shelter upon being admitted. In that time, coronavirus positivity rates among migrants arriving in Laredo rose from 4% in April to 40% in August.
“That was very high,” said Laredo, Texas, Mayor Pete Saenz. The mayor has since refused to take migrants into his city.
“Concerned that migrants arriving in Laredo would further strain hospital resources, Laredo officials contracted private bus companies to transport migrants arriving from the Rio Grande Valley to larger cities across the state,” the report said. “By not admitting migrants on the McAllen buses, the city is not required to test them for the coronavirus and could forward the families elsewhere. Those who test positive cannot travel and must be quarantined for 10 days, a situation Saenz wanted to evade to avoid migrant overflow.”
The Examiner noted that the 40% infection rate figure is “the highest known positivity rate along the U.S.-Mexico border.” McAllen, Texas, last week, reported a 15% positivity rate among migrants released from custody.