One of the most confusing aspect of the enforcement of United States customs laws is the question of priority: who is next? The standards for enforcement have shifted in a confusing and uncertain manner ever since Donald Trump was elected. With Joe Biden as president, the changes continue, leaving potential immigrants and illegal aliens with many questions and very few answers about their immigration status. The Department of Homeland is now moving to establish clear priorities about which aliens are most likely to be the subject of deportation proceedings.
The Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas made a recent announcement about new enforcement priorities within the Department of Homeland Security. The recent guidelines focus on national security, public safety and border security, but the guideline provide substantial discretion to border security guards’ discretion.
Mayorkas warned that the new guidelines do not use a statistical or categorical approach. Rather, the guidelines direct enforcement officers to make a determination in each individual case, using the specific facts of the individual’s situation. The officer must first investigate and comprehend the facts of each individual case before determining whether and what specific action to pursue.
In the memorandum heralding the new guidelines, Mayorkas reminded the country that it has more than 11 million undocumented aliens. Mayorkas noted that the country does not have the resources to apprehend and remove every one of these non-citizens. In a strong hint to the future direction of these enforcement efforts, Mayorkas noted that the DHS does “not have the resources to apprehend and remove every one of these noncitizens.” He noted that the department is “aware of the fact” that a majority of undocumented immigrants in the US have been “contributing members of communities for years.
Anyone who is uncertain about their immigration status may wish to consult a knowledgeable immigration attorney for an opinion about the person’s legal status and the likelihood of being able to remain in the country.