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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.

Updated 2 hours ago - Health

WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron

Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Health measures taken to combat COVID-19 before the emergence of Omicron would also help against the new variant of concern, World Health Organization officials said Friday.

What they're saying: Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, said during a virtual briefing broadcast from Manila, Philippines, that border controls imposed by the U.S. and other nations can "buy time" to deal with the variant, but warned "every country and every community must prepare for new surges in cases."

4 hours ago - Health

Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers

Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Nevada's Public Employees' Benefit Program Board voted Thursday to charge workers enrolled in public employee health insurance plans a surcharge of up to $55 a month if they're not vaccinated against COVID-19, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports.

Why it matters: Nevada is the first state to announce such a move, per AP.