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Immigration and Customs Enforcement issued a new memo on Thursday dictating the grounds for which people can be deported for the next 90 days. Officers will need preapproval from a senior manager before trying to deport anyone who is not a recent border crosser, a national security threat or a criminal offender with an aggravated felony conviction. Republicans criticized the measure, and the party’s members on the House Oversight and Judiciary committees sent the Homeland Security Secretary a letter expressing “serious concerns” with the memo. DHS officials said the new rules do not exempt anyone from enforcement or deportation but rather provide directions to ICE officers. The Washington Post
In other national immigration news…
ICE Planning to Release Detained Families to Prepare for New Arrivals
ICE is planning to release some migrant families in detention to accommodate recent arrivals apprehended at the U.S.–Mexico border, two Homeland Security officials tell CNN. More people have been attempting to cross the southern border in recent weeks. Most have been turned away due to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention order that allows Border Patrol to swiftly expel anyone attempting to cross. That order is currently under litigation and Homeland Security officials are preparing to have to process families crossing the border. There are currently only three family immigration jails: Berks in Pennsylvania, and South Texas (Dilley) and Karnes County Family Residential Centers in Texas. CNN
Migrants Drown in Freezing Rio Grande
A Venezuelan woman died while trying to cross the Rio Grande river from Mexico into the U.S., Reuters reports. An 8-year-old Honduran boy also drowned while attempting to cross the Rio Grande on Thursday, according to The Associated Press. The border region has faced freezing temperatures due to an uncharacteristic icy winter storm in recent days. It has resulted in 21 deaths across Texas and several other southern U.S. states. The Venezuelan woman and the boy were found by Mexican migration agents patrolling the river’s edge in Piedras Negras in Mexico’s Coahuila state, bordering Texas. Reuters, Associated Press
35 Years Since ‘La Amnistía’
This fall will mark the 35th anniversary of the Immigration Reform and Control Act signed by President Ronald Regan that granted amnesty to some 2.7 million immigrants nationwide while penalizing employers for hiring undocumented workers and increasing enforcement at the border. Mexicans made up 74 percent of those granted amnesty and they simply refer to IRCA as “la amnistía.” The anniversary arrives as President Joe Biden attempts to pass a bill that would give a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US. today. El Paso Times
First Migrant Protection Protocols Family Processed
A father and son who were kidnapped while waiting in Mexico under the Migrant Protection Protocols were allowed to enter the U.S. on Wednesday. They were the first family to be admitted following Biden’s decision to begin processing families who were kept out due to the policy. A Honduran father and son, 29-year old José and 4-year-old Santiago, were allowed to enter. They arrived at the border 20 months ago and were told to wait in Mexico, as they could only enter the U.S. for their court hearings. They were abducted in Reynosa, Mexico in November 2019 by people hoping to extort them. The New York Times
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