Apr 27, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Biden administration will limit immigration courthouse arrests

Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Mark Makela/Getty Images

The Biden administration will limit immigration authorities' ability to make arrests at courthouses, the Department of Homeland Security announced in a press release Tuesday.

Why it matters: The move is another way the Biden administration is adjusting its predecessor's policies and is intended to balance access to courthouses with immigration enforcement, per the statement.

The big picture: A Trump-era policy, established in 2018, previously authorized routine apprehensions at federal, state and local courthouses to make arrests.

  • Tuesday's directive to limit arrests was issued to both Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Protection.
  • Courthouse arrests will still be permitted in cases concerning national security, the destruction of evidence in an ongoing case, or if an individual poses a threat to public safety or is being actively pursued by authorities.

What they're saying: "Ensuring that individuals have access to the courts advances the fair administration of justice, promotes safety for crime victims, and helps to guarantee equal protection under the law,” DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said in the statement.

  • "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."
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