(USA Features) Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents will be largely barred from making arrests at courthouses under a new rule issued by Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas who suggested Tuesday it will improve accountability for migrants in the U.S. illegally.
Under the previous rule, which was vigorously enforced by the Trump administration, Mayorkas said it discouraged migrants from going to court hearings and cooperating with law enforcement generally, though he did not cite any data to support that contention.
ICE agents can still arrest people at courthouses in cases where the illegal migrant is believed to be a threat to public safety or to national security, The Associated Press reported. Migrants whom authorities fear could destroy evidence in a criminal case can also be arrested, Mayorkas said.
In a statement, he said the change in policy aims to balance immigration enforcement with access to courts.
“The expansion of civil immigration arrests at courthouses during the prior administration had a chilling effect on individuals’ willingness to come to court or work cooperatively with law enforcement,” he said, without supporting evidence.
The rule change is the latest from the Biden administration, which has reversed nearly all of former President Donald Trump’s policies aimed at simply enforcing existing immigration laws.
Trump’s policies were also designed to discourage migrants from traveling en masse to the border in caravans under the hope they would get released into the U.S. pending an asylum or immigration case review.
The former president also worked to disrupt so-called “sanctuary city” policies enacted by local jurisdictions and, in the case of California an entire state, forbidding law enforcement from working with federal immigration agents.