The Biden administration has issued a guidance for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to refrain from arresting and deporting illegal immigrants who are victims of crimes and therefore applying for victim-based immigration benefits.
The policy, which was issued by acting ICE Director Tae Johnson, is described as "victim-centered" and will see ICE agents cease with taking action against illegal immigrants who have applied for visas that are reserved for victims of human trafficking, domestic violence, abuse, or other such crimes.
The guidance says that the goal of the new policy is to minimize trauma to victims of criminal acts. "When victims have access to humanitarian protection, regardless of their immigration status, and can feel safe in coming forward, it strengthens the ability of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies, including ICE, to detect, investigate, and prosecute crimes," reads the document.
The acting director argues that illegal immigrants are more likely to cooperate with law enforcement absent the threat of deportation, and that the "victim-centered approach ... engenders trust in ICE agents and officers, and bolsters faith in the entire criminal justice and civil immigration systems."
Furthermore, the order instructs agents not to detain illegal immigrants who may have been victims of crimes, even if they have not yet applied for victim-based benefits, calling the judgement a "discretionary factor."
"It is ICE's commitment to assist victims of crime regardless of their immigration status," added Johnson.
This is the latest Biden administration move to reverse Trump-era policies that had discouraged floods of illegal immigrants from streaming across the southern border. In June, the administration disassembled the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office, a Trump-era creation that offered assistance to victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens.