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WASHINGTON — Deportations of illegal immigrants convicted of crimes like fraud, assault, and money laundering, and driving under the influence will soon be curbed by new Biden administration rules tasking officials to instead focus on those who pose a “national security risk,” the White House said Monday.
Press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security would release new guidelines directing US Immigration and Customs Enforcement to shift its focus away from illegal immigrants collared for crimes including driving under the influence, tax fraud, simple assault, drug offenses, and solicitation.
“The priority for the enforcement of immigration laws will be on those who are posing a national security threat, of course, a public safety threat, and new arrivals,” Psaki said at a Monday afternoon briefing.
“Nobody is saying that DUIs or assaults are acceptable behavior and those arrested for such activities should be tried and sentenced as appropriate by local law enforcement, but we’re talking about prioritization of who should be deported from the country,” she went on.
The guidelines will hollow out the Trump administration’s hardline approach to illegal immigration.
Psaki said the change came from Biden who felt “modernization of immigration is long overdue.”
Monday’s announcement is the latest immigration reform by the Biden administration which is also seeking to offer a citizenship pathway to the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Saturday announced that the Biden administration had begun suspending Trump-era migration agreements with El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras limiting the ability of asylum seekers from those countries to gain entry to the United States.
“In line with the president’s vision, we have notified the Governments of El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras that the United States is taking this action as efforts to establish a cooperative, mutually respectful approach to managing migration across the region begin,” Blinken said in a statement.
“The Biden administration believes there are more suitable ways to work with our partner governments to manage migration across the region,” he added.