Federal immigration authorities are tempering the aggressive enforcement policy that led routinely to raids of restaurant workplaces during the Trump administration.
Those unannounced operations would often lead to the apprehension of workers who lacked proper documentation to work in the U.S. Agents would often swoop into a location under the assumption that not all employees could prove their legal status, and then apprehend anyone who lacked the required paperwork.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said it will now limit spot raids to searches for specific individuals who represent a clear danger to national security and public safety. The narrowed focus will also extend to persons who are known to have entered the country without proper documentation since Nov. 1. Essentially, the change amounts to hunting for known transgressors, rather than raiding on suspicions or assumptions.
In other instances, field offices will need pre-approval from higher-ups in the chain of command.
“By focusing our limited resources on cases that present threats to national security, border security, and public safety, our agency will more ably and effectively execute its law enforcement mission,” ICE Acting Director Tae Johnson said in a statement.
The change will take effect immediately and remain in place until new permanent guidelines are released, according to the announcement from Alejandro Mayorkas, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. ICE Is a part of that department.
The permanent guidelines are expected to be aired within 90 days.
The move is the latest reversal of controversial Trump-era policies by the Biden administration. President Biden has pledged to draft and push for comprehensive immigration reform, in part by establishing a path to legal residence and citizenship for the estimated millions of workers who currently lack proper documentation to live and work in the United States.