Administration’s New Enforcement Priorities Dangerously Give Officers Broad Discretion


(Washington)—The new enforcement priorities issued today by the Biden Harris Administration continue to target immigrants deemed to be threats to national security, public safety and border security, a stance the previous administration used to target Black and brown immigrants and one the Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is firmly against.  

While the interim enforcement priorities released in January imposed specific rules about who was subject to enforcement actions and what procedures Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents must follow, the new priorities continue this dangerous precedent of giving immigration officers broad discretion on who to arrest, detain and deport. Given the recent violence Haitian immigrants faced at the hands of immigration officers when attempting to seek asylum at the border, the precarious situation in which these new guidelines are released only heighten our concern.  

“The ILRC has been calling on the administration to end immigration arrests, end immigration detention, and stop deportations to no avail,” said ILRC Policy Director Sameera Hafiz. “Instead of ending pernicious surveillance, arrests, raids and incarceration, an immigrant’s fate is left up to the officer looking at their situation. What the administration has released today is a deportation memo.”  

“President Biden has so far failed to be bold on immigration, despite promises to the contrary. Instead, his administration seems to be content in using the template left by previous administrations,” Hafiz said. “By ceding all policy decisions on enforcement to ICE and CBP (Customs and Border Patrol) agents, the administration is on track to recreate the immigration enforcement nightmares of the Trump administration.  The ILRC supports the demands of our communities to abolish our inhumane systems that target, criminalize, detain, deport, and separate immigrants and their families.”


The Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) is a national nonprofit that works with immigrants, community organizations, legal professionals, and policy makers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people. Through community education programs, legal training & technical assistance, and policy development & advocacy, the ILRC works to protect and defend the fundamental rights of immigrant families and communities.