With the recent shutdown of non-essential border crossings into the United States at both the southern and northern points-of-entry, there’s reportedly been a near-50% decrease in illegal immigrant apprehensions.
On March 20th, President Trump issued a temporary shutdown of the borders providing entry into the country.
Basically, travel that doesn’t fall into the category of “essential,” like that of supply chain and trade endeavors, is going to be taking a break.
— Littler Mendelson (@Littler) March 21, 2020
Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, noted that the shutdown was a necessary move seeing that it’s nearly impossible to determine who may carry COVID-19 at points-of-entry into the United States:
“Without that documentation, we see individuals coming into the country without proper identity documents, without travel documents, without medical history. So, it’s very hard to make a public health determination on those individuals.”
At the direction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Wolf explained how the measure has positively affected illegal entries into the country:
“The CDC said we need to suspend that, so that’s what the Department has been doing over the last 24 hours—and I would say that it’s working. We’ve seen almost a 50% drop in illegal apprehensions, those illegal individuals coming across our borders.”
CBP acting Commissioner Mark Morgan also dove into the numbers regarding the overall decrease in traffic coming through the borders.
He took to Twitter to cite the following:
“Since [CBP] began implementing [the CDC’s] order, we’ve seen a major decline in traffic at our borders—54% decrease at ports and 52% decline in USBP encounters—while trade remains level. These reductions reflect a historic & aggressive containment strategy by [President Trump] to protect the US.”
Since @CBP began implementing @CDCgov order, we've seen a major decline in traffic at our borders—54% decrease at ports and 52% decline in USBP encounters—while trade remains level. These reductions reflect a historic & aggressive containment strategy by @POTUS to protect the US. pic.twitter.com/QrcwqfHk55
— Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan (@CBPMarkMorgan) March 22, 2020
Outside of aspects related to supply chain and trade, the U.S. will permit travel into the country under instances related to medical needs, education, and deemed emergencies.
However, proper documentation must be presented to gain entry under such circumstances.
Mexico has adopted the same practices with those looking to enter their country.
They too are limiting travel to only that which is needed and barring anything solely related to recreational travel.
This decrease in border traffic into the United States has also temporarily halted applications for asylum.
While that has caused some scrutiny from the uber-progressive community, seeking asylum certainly doesn’t fall under essential travel.
For the time being, it’s unclear how long these travel and border crossing restrictions will remain in place.
Speaking of COVID-19 and how areas related to immigration are being effected, Law Enforcement Today recently reported on how ICE will be scaling back certain operations to help deter the virus’s spread.
With police forces throughout the country taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it was only a matter of time before we saw federal law enforcement fall in line.
Law Enforcement Today recently learned that ICE will be engaging in more selective enforcement procedures. However, the new measures aren’t as drastic as some police departments have enacted in recent weeks.
"“ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds,” ICE explained in a press release."https://t.co/6R9pK8WUMM
— Infowars Army GFW (@ArmyIWGFW) March 19, 2020
According to the statement released by ICE, the adjustment in their Enforcement and Removal Operations, commonly abbreviated as ERO, took effect on March 18th.
This temporary shift in enforcement is going to focus solely on criminal illegal immigrants that pose a verifiable public safety risk:
“(ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate.”
@ICEgov enforcement priorities during #COVID19: ICE will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion.
— Reform Immigration (@SidLawImmig) March 19, 2020
What this means is that those only suspected of being in the country illegally, and nothing more, will likely not have attention directed toward them by the agency.
ICE's highest priorities are to promote life-saving and public safety activities. ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.
— Tranjuris (@tranjuris) March 19, 2020
ICE did make sure to note that this will not deter Homeland Security Investigations from looking into suspected crimes which may be committed by illegal immigrants with no prior criminal history.
The cited investigations that will carry on were detailed as follows:
“Examples include investigations into child exploitation, gangs, narcotics trafficking, human trafficking, human smuggling, and continued participation on the Joint Terrorism Task Force.”
The announcement from the agency did not detail when ERO operations will revert back to their normal cadence.
Considering that there isn’t much insight as to when the COVID-19 pandemic will be under control, any indicated date of reversion would be hard to guarantee at this point.
ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds. those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions https://t.co/Rk3EiyS1JP
— Iris Rodriguez (@IrisNews) March 19, 2020
Another portion of the agency’s release reiterated their already existing policy around ERO in deemed “sensitive locations”:
“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. Individuals should not avoid seeking medical care because they fear civil immigration enforcement.”
That portion of the statement was likely due to rallying cries asking the agency to not carry out operations near healthcare facilities and testing sites for COVID-19.
However, those exclamations weren’t really needed since the agency has held a “sensitive locations” policy for quite some time now.
Overall, considering the circumstances the country is facing with the pandemic, this isn’t too outrageous of a shift in procedure.
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