ICE officially considers military service when deciding to deport non-citizen vets and families

The policy has been unofficial until now
ICE officer at the southern border
ICE officer at the southern border
(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced Tuesday that it will officially consider migrants' US military service before deciding whether to enforce civil immigration actions, such as deportation, against them or their family members.

While ICE has previously recognized US military service as a mitigating factor, the Biden administration's directive makes consideration of US military service an official agency policy. The department will take into account the non-citizen US veteran's type of discharge, length of service, and other related factors before deciding to take action against an illegal immigrant and their immediate family members.

Immigration enforcement actions include "arrest, detention, return, and removal from the United States of foreign nationals who are inadmissible to or removable from the United States under U.S. immigration law," according to the Department of Homeland Security.

The Biden administration stressed in a press release announcing the policy that the focus of ICE is "the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to national security, public safety, and border security."

The newly official policy will also create training, tracking, and reporting requirements for current and former US service members who are illegal immigrants.

"ICE values the incredible contributions of noncitizens who have served in the U.S. military," ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson said in a press release. "Through this directive, ICE will consider U.S. military service by a noncitizen or their immediate family members when determining whether to take civil immigration enforcement decisions against a noncitizen."