Amid the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement plans to delay arresting illegal immigrants who are not “public safety” threats, it announced in a statement Wednesday, according to reports.
“To ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will temporarily adjust its enforcement posture beginning today, March 18, 2020,” an ICE statement read, per BuzzFeed News. “ICE’s highest priorities are to promote life-saving and public safety activities.”
ICE plans to focus “on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.”
For all other cases and individuals, ICE agents “will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate,” per the report.
Lawmakers had expressed concern about ICE detention centers as being dangerous amid the pandemic and social distancing recommendations, fearing it would be a breeding ground for community spread of the virus.