President Joe Biden has frequently shown that he intends to govern in a much different way than his predecessor — and nowhere has that been more evident than in terms of immigration law and border security.
Following rumors that the Biden administration would be dramatically reprioritizing deportation, the White House recently appeared to confirm a plan that would only seek to deport undocumented immigrants who pose a clear and present danger to the United States.
“A public safety threat”
According to the Washington Examiner, the admission came from White House press secretary Jen Psaki during a White House press conference on Monday.
Earlier reports indicated that the Department of Homeland Security and Immigration and Customs Enforcement under the current administration would be preparing new deportation guidelines that would exclude from removal those individuals who had been charged with or convicted of supposedly minor crimes like assault, driving under the influence, and drug-related offenses.
Fox News Channel reporter Peter Doocy raised the issue in a question to Psaki, saying: “There’s some new reporting that ICE is going to get some new guidance to no longer focus on deporting illegal immigrants who have been convicted of DUIs, simple assault, solicitation, drug-based crimes, among other things. And I’m curious how that is in the interest of public safety.”
Instead of providing a direct answer, Psaki skirted the topic by directing questions on the specifics to DHS and ICE officials.
“But the priority for the enforcement of immigration laws will be on those who are posing a national security threat — of course, a public safety threat — and on recent arrivals,” she said.
“Modernization of immigration is long overdue”
Psaki went on to acknowledge that other crimes are not “acceptable behavior,” noting that “those arrested for such activities should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement.”
Nevertheless, she said the Biden administration is “talking about the prioritization of who is going to be deported from the country.”
Unsatisfied with the press secretary’s response, Doocy went on to ask if such a policy is “the kind of change” on which the president campaigned.
“Well, I think the kind of change he was talking about was putting forward an immigration bill, at a time where modernization of immigration is long overdue, that addresses not only a pathway to citizenship, but puts in place smart security measures and addresses the root causes of these issues in the countries in Central America,” Psaki replied.
In other words, the Biden administration seems poised to continue scaling back, if not eliminating, the deportation of undocumented immigrants.