The Obama administration curtailed enforcement of immigration law by rewriting the rules to place a higher emphasis on deporting new arrivals or dangerous criminals who actually pose a threat to the community.
The Trump regime ripped up the playbook and expanded enforcement to virtually every immigrant they could get their hands on including everyone from local business owners to grandmothers. They treated every undocumented immigrant as the same even if one was the cornerstone of a family and the other was violent.
We expected to see the Biden administration return to some version of the Obama-era rules and the Washington Post reports that it's coming this week.
While ICE’s new operational plans are not yet final, interim instructions sent to senior officials point to a major shift in enforcement. Agents will no longer seek to deport immigrants for crimes such as driving under the influence and assault, and will focus instead on national security threats, recent border crossers and people completing prison and jail terms for aggravated felony convictions. [...]
ICE officials say anyone unlawfully in the United States will still be subject to arrest, including people who committed crimes and were released before the memo was issued. Crimes such as sex offenses remain a top priority, they said.
“The commission of an aggravated felony is the most conclusive proof of a public safety threat,” ICE spokeswoman Jenny Burke said in a statement. “ICE retains its unlimited discretion to evaluate any conduct in defining a public safety threat.”
At first glance, the new rules may actually go further than the Obama administration did to limit enforcement.
Some anonymous ICE agents and officials who spoke to the Washington Post complained about the new guidelines with one saying the Biden administration has "abolished ICE without abolishing ICE."
I wish that were actually the case as I personally believe ICE should be abolished, but I know that is impossible without and very unlikely even if Congress passes comprehensive immigration reform. Actually abolishing ICE would be a political poison pill in midterm congressional races. But narrowing the people subject to immediate arrest by ICE is the next best thing to abolishing ICE and it should immediately reduce human suffering.
That's what we're really doing when we arrest or deport people just trying to live a more normal life. We're making them suffer.
I recently met a foreign transgender woman who cannot medically transition because of laws (or a lack thereof) in her home country and it has given me a new appreciation for my own privileges as an American and for what others lack. I have a lot to be thankful for in this world even if social discrimination is a present threat. Denying other humans the right to exist isn't patriotism and anyone who wants to live here should be allowed to.