On September 30, 2021, USCIS issued a memo outlining the Biden administration’s new immigration enforcement policies. The memo makes it clear that ICE agents are to prioritize the detention or deportation of those suspected of terrorism or pose a national threat to the U.S. Undocumented immigrants who have committed serious crimes or are recent arrivals (entered the U.S. after November 1, 2020) are also among the priority list for ICE.
After the policy goes into effect on November 29, 2021, ICE agents will not detain undocumented immigrations merely because of their immigration status. Instead, ICE agents will use their limited resources and discretion to pursue undocumented immigrants who may be a threat to border security, public safety, and national security. Undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for an extended period of time and can show they satisfy any of the enumerated mitigating factors are not a priority for deportation. While this policy may be a sigh of relief for millions of undocumented immigrants living in the U.S., they are still living in limbo while they wait for a path to work authorization, legal status, and citizenship.