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Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents will now focus on arresting unauthorized immigrants who pose a national security threat — a shift from the Trump era, when agents had broad discretion over which immigrants were targeted.

Why it matters: The new interim guidance is in effect starting Thursday, and comes as the Biden administration tries to rein in the wide latitude given to ICE under the Trump administration. The rule is in line with an executive order that President Biden signed shortly after taking office.

  • The agency will prioritize arrests and deportations for people who either engaged in, or are suspected to have engaged in, activities like terrorism or espionage.
  • The priorities also include people who are a threat to public safety and have convictions for violent crimes or gang-related crimes.
  • People apprehended trying to cross the U.S. border or at a port of entry on or after November 1, 2020 also fall under the new priorities.

The agency will be "asking officers and agents to proceed deliberately" when arresting people who fall outside the three priorities, a DHS official said.

  • The official said the new rule will help ICE "accomplish its mission in the most efficient way. Not by reducing enforcement, but by focusing it on the most pressing parts."

What's next: The final rule, which will supersede the interim guidance, is expected in about 3 months, per a DHS official.

Go deeper

Democrats to unveil sweeping Biden-backed immigration bill

Joe Biden. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-Calif.) will introduce Biden's immigration bill Thursday, which includes an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants. Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) will introduce the bill in the Senate next week.

Why it matters: The bill is unlikely to win needed Republican support, but represents the aggressive immigration priorities of President Biden. It will also kick off the immigration debate on Capitol Hill, which could lead to less sweeping immigration reforms.

Biden explains justification for Syria strike in letter to Congress

Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

President Biden told congressional leadership in a letter Saturday that this week's airstrike against facilities in Syria linked to Iranian-backed militia groups was consistent with the U.S. right to self-defense.

Why it matters: Some Democrats, including Sens. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), have criticized the Biden administration for the strike and demanded a briefing.

4 hours ago - Health

FDA authorizes Johnson & Johnson's one-shot COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday issued an emergency use authorization for Johnson & Johnson's one-shot coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: The authorization of a third coronavirus vaccine in the U.S. will help speed up the vaccine rollout across the country, especially since the J&J shot only requires one dose as opposed to Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech's two-shot vaccines.