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Federal agents will no longer be allowed to carry out most immigration arrests at courthouses, following a change of policy announced by President Biden’s administration.
The new approach, announced Tuesday, scales back a Trump-era policy from 2018 that authorized routine apprehensions at federal, state and local courthouses.
In a statement, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the previous strategy “had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement.”
“Today’s guidance is the latest step in our efforts to focus our civil immigration enforcement resources on threats to homeland security and public safety,” Mayorkas said.
Arrests may only be made in or near courthouses in limited instances: when it involves a national security matter; an imminent risk of death, violence or physical harm to any person; a hot pursuit of someone who poses a threat to public safety; or an imminent risk of destruction of evidence related to a criminal case.
The new measures are meant to balance the “fair administration of justice with legitimate civil immigration enforcement interests,” according to Mayorkas.
The policy is part of a larger shift in immigration policy under the Biden administration, which is rolling back many of his predecessor’s more restrictive policies.
However, some policies have been retained, including a public health order permitting CBP to quickly expel most people trying to enter the country illegally.
Meanwhile, also on Tuesday, Biden’s administration announced a crackdown on migrant smuggling in a plan dubbed “Operation Sentinel,” through targeted financial and travel sanctions, among other measures.
“Transnational criminal organizations put profit over human life, with devastating consequences,” Mayorkas said. “With the help of our federal and foreign partners, we aim to cut off access to that profit by denying these criminals the ability to engage in travel, trade, and finance in the United States. We intend to disrupt every facet of the logistical network that these organizations use to succeed.”
With Post wires
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