Immigration chief on thin ice for adopting Obama’s stance during crisis

ICE said last week that it would prioritize deportation for foreigners who have committed crimes or are at risk to public security, rather than those in doctors’ offices and hospitals.

“ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public security risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention for criminal reasons,” said ICE in a Explanation published on his website. “For those who do not fall into these categories, ERO will, at its own discretion, delay enforcement until after the crisis or use alternatives to detention if necessary.”

Trump made action against immigration a key part of his 2016 campaign, called for a southern border wall and illegally deported all 11 million immigrants in the country.

The change, announced on March 18, is similar to an Obama administration policy that focused on immigrants who committed crimes. Albence made the decision unilaterally, so two people familiar with the matter.

After Albence informed legislators of the change in phone calls and released the press release last week, he was punished by incumbent deputy secretary Ken Cuccinelli, who, after the surprising announcement, was not happy with him, a former senior DHS official said.

The day after the press release, Cuccinelli tried to go back on the statement. He tweeted a thread that “clarifies” ICE’s announcement that it will be enforced during the pandemic.

“As in other times of crisis, @ICEgov will implement enforcement measures that protect our communities and comply with our laws. This means that @ICEgov will continue to prioritize the arrest and removal of criminal aliens and other aliens that pose a threat to public security, as has always been the case during President @ realDonaldTrump’s tenure, ”he said.

“This does not mean that no other removable aliens are actually removed, but in the current public health situation, the removals are being performed to minimize exposure of our agents and the removable aliens we encounter.”

Trump also saw news about it and wondered what was going on, the former senior DHS official said.

Senior DHS officials “were really upset about this event because it wasn’t really coordinated with anyone,” the person said. “For that he got deep in the shit the next day. So they tried to release this bell. “

A DHS official confirmed that DHS headquarters telegraphed frustration at the enforcement and deportation operations – the ICE component that handles detention and deportation – over reports of a pause in some enforcement operations.

Betsy Woodruff Swan contributed to this report.

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