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President Biden’s nominee to run Immigration and Customs Enforcement promised to maintain the “rule of law” and to improve public safety during his Senate confirmation hearing. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez of Texas also said he wouldn’t terminate the voluntary 278(g) program that allows law enforcement to collaborate with federal deportation efforts. The grandson of immigrants went on to praise the role migrants played in the U.S.’s history over the years. “We have proven that people from varied backgrounds cannot just coexist, but rally around common values and a shared dream of always doing better,” he said at his confirmation hearing. Gonzalez noted that he has an “amicable” relationship with ICE and that the agency should prioritize the arrest of recent border crossers and serious criminals. The American Civil Liberties Union referred to his testimony as “deeply disappointing.” The Washington Post
In other federal immigration news…
Garland Restores Immigration Judges’ Discretion
On Thursday, Attorney General Merrick Garland reversed an order from former President Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions that blocked immigration judges from closing cases and removing ones that were deemed low priority. According to data from Syracuse University’s TRAC, this move will decrease the backlog of immigration cases in the U.S. In his order, Garland said immigration judges’ ability to administratively close cases allowed “government counsel to request that certain low-priority cases be removed from the immigration judges’ active calendars,” which allows judges to “focus on higher-priority cases.” Garland noted that closing a case administratively pauses it, but does not permanently dismiss it. NBC News
Radio Ads and DHS Secretary Urge Migrants to Not Come
The U.S. is running more than 30,000 radio ads a month in Central America to discourage residents from migrating. The ad campaign was created to fight the variety of reasons driving migrants to the U.S.-Mexico border, as well as smugglers’ attempts to convince migrants that border officials under the Biden administration are laid back. It costs $600,000 a month for these ads, which run in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, in Spanish and five Indigenous languages. CNN
While radio ads are spreading in Central America, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is urging Cuban and Haitian people to not come to the U.S. by boat. His message comes amid constant protests in Cuba to end its 62-year-old dictatorship and the assassination of Haiti’s president, Jovenel Moïse. In the 2021 fiscal year, 470 Cubans and 313 Haitians have been apprehended at sea, compared to 49 Cubans and 430 Haitians last fiscal year. Politico