Mar 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

ICE pauses most immigration enforcement amid coronavirus outbreak

Photo: Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Wednesday that it will immediately "delay" the bulk of its deportation efforts amid the novel coronavirus pandemic and instead focus on undocumented persons who have committed criminal acts or who threaten public safety.

Why it matters: The announcement aims to curb the spread of COVID-19 and to encourage anyone who needs testing or treatment to pursue medical assistance.

What they're saying: "[D]uring the COVID-19 crisis, ICE will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances," per an ICE statement.

  • The agency, which is part of the Department of Homeland Security, will for now "focus on people who are subject to mandatory detention because of their criminal convictions."
  • ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations "will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate."

Go deeper

Tesla will finally halt California production amid pandemic

Photo: David Butow/Corbis via Getty Images

Telsa announced that it will suspend production at its chief U.S. plant, located in the Bay Area, on March 23 amid the coronavirus pandemic — a week after local authorities ordered all nonessential businesses to shut down.

The big picture: Tesla has been among a small number of businesses resisting a full shutdown of operations to curb the potential spread of the virus among workers. Local law enforcement has been in discussion with the company after it told employees to keep coming to work.

  • "Basic operations" that fall under the shutdown order's carveout for essential business will continue "to support our vehicle and energy service operations and charging infrastructure," Tesla added.

Go deeper: Automakers to close all plants over coronavirus fears

EPA relaxes enforcement on pollution violations, citing coronavirus

The Phillips 66 Bayway oil refinery along the New Jersey Turnpike in December 2019. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

The Environmental Protection Agency will not take action against power plants and other facilities that violate rules on air and water pollution or handling hazardous waste if those breaches are the result of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the agency announced Thursday.

What's happening: The EPA is reacting to potential worker shortages and laboratories made inoperable by COVID-19, as more states issue stay-at-home orders and businesses close to promote social distancing — an effort to fight the spread of the virus.

Go deeperArrowMar 27, 2020 - Health

3 immigrant kids in U.S. custody have coronavirus

Woman waves a paper heart to kids in the U.S.'s largest migrant children detention center Photo: Gianrigo Marletta/AFP via Getty Images

Three immigrant minors in government custody who had crossed into the U.S. without their parents are confirmed to have the novel coronavirus, according to a statement by Health and Human Service's (HHS) Office of Refuge Resettlement (ORR).

Between the lines: Of the roughly 3,500 children in ORR’s care, these are the first with confirmed cases of coronavirus. HHS had earlier stopped sending immigrant minors to shelters in California and Washington state, and now has stopped placing migrant children in New York as well.

Go deeperArrowMar 26, 2020 - Health