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Biden Administration Releases Interim Interior Enforcement Priorities Memo

Jan26
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Biden Administration Releases Interim Interior Enforcement Priorities Memo

On their first day in office, the Biden Administration announced a 100-day pause on most removals from the United States.  The pause is meant to give the Department of Homeland Security time to conduct a department-wide review of policies and practices in immigration enforcement.  During the review, the interim enforcement priorities will be:

  1. National security: Individuals who have engaged in or are suspected of terrorism or espionage, or whose apprehension, arrest and/or custody is otherwise necessary to protect the national security of the United States.
  2. Border security: Individuals apprehended at the border or ports of entry while attempting to unlawfully enter the United States on or after November 1, 2020, or who were not physically present in the United States before November 1, 2020.
  3. Public safety: Individuals incarcerated within federal, state, and local prisons and jails released on or after the issuance of this memorandum who have been convicted of an “aggravated felony,” as that term is defined in section 101(a) (43) of the Immigration and Nationality Act at the time of conviction, and are determined to pose a threat to public safety.

The interim priorities are to be applied by DHS officers in making decisions including:

  • Whether to issue, serve, file, or cancel a Notice to Appear;
  • Whom to stop, question, or arrest;
  • Whom to detain or release;
  • Whether to settle, dismiss, appeal, or join in a motion on a case; and
  • Whether to grant deferred action or parole.

The interim enforcement priorities reflect an immediate departure from the Trump priorities, which were to seek removal in nearly all cases to the maximum extent allowable under the law (and sometimes beyond).  The new priorities and the pause on removals may change the strategy for people in removal proceedings and for those filing applications to USCIS.  If you are interested in discussing your case and what the new priorities might mean for you, please contact our office to schedule a consultation with one of our immigration lawyers.

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