Phoenix ICE Office With More Deportations Than Arrests Gets New Guidelines

Published: Monday, February 22, 2021 - 5:05am
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Agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement have new temporary instructions for how to do their jobs.

The highest recent yearly arrest-count for ICE’s Phoenix Field Office was roughly 7,200. The most deportations in 12 months was close to 34,000.

New guidelines restrict how many people local ICE agents can arrest, said Randy Capps, director of U.S. research for the the nonpartisan Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Whether fewer people get deported by the Phoenix office also depends on how many people border authorities transfer to ICE.

“The number of people that the Phoenix Office detains and deports are going to be affected both by those people apprehended at the border and by the people that ICE arrests in Arizona,” he said.

A pause on deportations ordered by President Biden is currently blocked by court order.

People deemed threats to national security, border security and public safety are supposed to be ICE’s focus.

New guidelines say agents need approval to arrest anyone not in those categories.

The memo the instructions came in gives ICE Field Office directors power to grant or deny appeals from agents, Capps said. He thinks this was designed to help a strained relationship between ICE line-officers and political appointees.

“And it will be interesting to see if that kind of works to diffuse those tensions because of course the Field Office director is much closer to the ground,” said Capps.

The Homeland Security Secretary is expected to finalize ICE enforcement guidelines in less than 90 days. Capps said the priorities might get broadened, but he doesn’t think it would be by much.

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