The Department of Homeland Security has released guidelines regarding who is to be prioritized for enforcement proceedings. It is stepping away from the approach taken by the previous administration and will move forward with a more categorical or “targeted” approach. Under the previous administration, any Immigrant who violated the law could face enforcement actions, even if the only infraction was being an undocumented Immigrant. Under the guidelines issued by DHS, being a removable noncitizen cannot form the sole basis of an enforcement action.
What is the categorical “targeted” approach?
The new guidelines call for an individualized determination before an Immigrant can be taken into custody, deported or any other enforcement action can take place. The individual will be assessed, and facts will be investigated. Using this information along with all the facts and circumstances surrounding the case, a determination will be made as to whether the individual is a public safety threat. Simply being a removable noncitizen without any other infractions cannot form the sole basis for being taken into custody or deported.
Why is the current administration returning to a targeted approach?
The Secretary of Homeland Security stated that this approach recognizes that the nation does not have the resources to apprehend every noncitizen in the U.S. and remove each of them. This approach also recognizes that most undocumented Immigrants are contributing members of society.
Moving forward under the new guidelines
The new guidelines become effective on November 29, 2021. It is important that Immigrants understand how these guidelines will affect them. With the right information, they can make decisions that are in their best interests.