Rep. Andy Biggs Demands Answers From DHS on New Guidelines That Gut Immigration Enforcement, Calls for Mayorkas’s Removal

 

Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ-05) and Rep. James Comer (R-KY-01) sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas demanding answers regarding new “Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law” that they assert hamper the ability of ICE agents to enforce immigration laws. They warn that the new guidelines will restrict enforcement even more than the interim guidance which was implemented in January, which caused arrests and removals to plummet by more than 60 percent.

Biggs called to remove Mayorkas in a statement accompanying the letter, “These guidelines are an affront to the rule of law and will only further incentivize illegal immigration. Instead of preventing ICE from enforcing the law, the Biden administration should be empowering them to keep our country safe. Moreover, Secretary Mayorkas should be removed from his position of authority immediately for implementing crisis-creating policies.”

Comer added, “Starting on day one in office, President Biden in both word and action has put illegal immigrants first and Americans last through his radical open borders agenda. Under his watch, masses of children have been held in overcrowded facilities during a pandemic, apprehensions at the southwest border are at levels never before seen, the human smuggling industry is booming, and deadly drugs like fentanyl are harming communities.”

The pair lay out how the new guidance, which goes into effect on November 29, requires immigration officers to conduct “a ‘complicated’ analysis requiring additional ‘investigative work’ to elucidate information on a variety of factors — none of which have any bearing on the legal question of whether an alien is amenable to be charged as removable in immigration proceedings.” This is “an intentional imposition of bureaucratic red tape” to make it difficult to deport illegal immigrants.

They assert that the Biden administration is telling ICE not to enforce immigration laws, and now border crossers know they will not face consequences. Mayorkas said the fact that someone is present in the United States illegally “should not alone be the basis” of a decision to detain and deport them. The guidelines say there can be exceptions to deporting illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. These “mitigating factors” include “advanced or tender age,” “lengthy presence in the United States,” “military or other public service of the noncitizen or their immediate family,” and “the impact of removal on family in the United States.”

Biggs and Comer request information related to who the Biden administration consulted with in planning both the January interim guidelines and the new guidelines. They also want to know how many illegal immigrants have been arrested and deported each week since October 1, 2020. The number of arrests of illegal immigrants has dropped to the lowest level in over a decade, according to ICE data. Roughly half the annual totals during the Trump administration are arrested.

Republicans have been critical of the Biden administration’s rollback of the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols, the ending of border construction, and limited application of Title 42 public health protections. Biggs said in August that he intends to file articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. Arizona State Rep. Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek) asked Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich for a legal opinion earlier this week asking whether the Biden administration has failed to protect the border.

The number of people illegally entering the country encountered by the border patrol tripled over the past year, according to new figures released from Customs and Border Protection. The numbers in July 2021 increased five times over July 2020, with a total of 213,593 encountered. More than 1.7 million illegal immigrants were detained at the southwestern border over the past 12 months — the highest number on record.

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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]

 

 

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