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At the beginning of President Joe Biden’s time in office, the Department of Homeland Security issued a memo adjusting Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s detention priorities. On the same day, Biden issued an executive order temporarily blocking deportations. But as a report from advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants shows, ICE hasn’t been following those policy shifts. Immigrants who should be released under the guidelines are left in detention centers where they’re subjected to abuse, in miserable conditions and solitary confinement. And while deportations have been declining, that often prolongs immigrants’ time in detention. The Intercept
Immigration Courts Filled With Trump Hires
The Biden administration has hired a new crop of immigration judges, including some who were originally appointed under former President Donald Trump. The 17 new hires for the court system will decide which immigrants can stay in the U.S. Some of them are former prosecutors and counselors for ICE, while most haven’t represented migrants in their asylum fights. This has sparked questions and criticism from immigration advocates and some former immigration judges. “No one one that list is among the top 100 asylum authorities in the country, and that’s the kind of people they should be hiring — not prosecutorial re-treads,” said Paul Schmidt, a former immigration judge. The Hill
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DHS Ends Plan to Collect DNA from Immigrants
DHS on Friday ended Trump-era plans to collect biometric data, including DNA samples, to use for immigration-related purposes. According to a department statement, this is “consistent with” the administration’s efforts to cut down barriers to legal immigration. In September 2020, the Trump administration proposed removing age restrictions for biometric collection that would’ve let DHS require biometrics for every immigration application, petition or other request. When introducing the proposal, then-DHS official Ken Cuccinelli said the collection of biometric information “guards against identity theft and thwarts fraudsters who are not who they claim to be.” CNN
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