U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said in a statement that it will “temporarily adjust its enforcement posture” effective immediately and shift focus to public safety risks, those who are subject to detention on criminal grounds and those it deems “mission critical” in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.
Homeland Security Investigations will continue to carry out mission-critical criminal investigations and enforcement operations as determined necessary to maintain public safety and national security. Examples include investigations into child exploitation, gangs, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling, and continued participation on the Joint Terrorism Task Force. This work will be conducted based on the ability to coordinate and work with prosecutors from the Department of Justice and intake at both the U.S. Marshals Service and Bureau of Prisons.
During the COVID-19 crisis, ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. The statement also said that “Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.”