DHS Sec. Mayorkas: 'Significant Changes' Coming to ICE Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the daily press briefing on March 1, 2021. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
By Charles Kim | Wednesday, 26 May 2021 07:10 PM
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said this week that there are “significant changes” coming to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency as President Joe Biden’s administration continues to reverse polices made during former President Donald Trump’s tenure.
Mayorkas told The Washington Post Tuesday that he is “wrestling” with establishing new priorities for the agency as it works through a new “assessment” of what it should be doing that is due by the end of the month.
“I really am focused on it becoming a premier national security and law enforcement agency,” Mayorkas said to the Post. “I really want to elevate all of the other work [ICE] does and also ensure that its civil immigration work is well-focused in the service of the national security and public safety mission.”
Since taking office, Biden’s administration has slowed the number of arrests and apprehension of people crossing the southern border by ending several Trump policies.
He ordered a 100-day freeze on most deportations, which was blocked in the federal courts, and the administration is being sued by several Republican states attorneys general, the report said.
According to the Post story, the agency carried out less than 3,000 deportations in April, which is the lowest level in history,, In March, agents took more than 172,000 migrants into custody, and a similar number for April, the Post reported.
The new administration’s policies want to move ICE resources away from being measured by arrests and deportations to more investigative work, according to the article.
Despite moving away from the policies of Trump, some Democrats that are further left than the president want the administration to move faster reforming its function.
“They have begun to do a lot of things to roll back the worst pieces of Trump administration policies, and their biggest accomplishment has been changing immigration enforcement in the interior to scale back who is being detained,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., said in the story while pushing for a full moratorium on deportations.
So far, the administration has not moved to the far left, which is calling to abolish the agency altogether, but has reined in much of the latitude Border Agents had under Trump.
The agency reported a caseload of 3.26 million with an average of 87 arrests, 509 removals, and 4,000 lbs. of narcotics seized each day, according to its website.
The decreased activity by the agency because of Biden’s policies and a 20-year high of border crossings is frustrating some of the Border Patrol rank and file, according to the story.