On Wednesday, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced that it will stop most operations aimed at detaining illegal aliens in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This will seriously weaken ongoing efforts to enforce President Trump’s tougher policies against illegals.
An official statement from ICE stated that this measure, which is only temporary, is necessary to “ensure the welfare and safety of the general public as well as officers and agents.”
ICE says that while the emergency lasts, they will only use their resources to attempt to stop those who are considered a risk to public safety or who have committed serious crimes. Likewise, they said they would not attempt to detain anyone near medical facilities unless absolutely necessary, given that some illegals are fearful that going to doctors might result in them being deported, including those who may be showing signs of coronavirus infection. In the meantime, ICE officers say that they will either delay enforcement or utilize “alternatives to detainment,” at least until the emergency measures pass.
ICE currently has nearly 38,000 foreign nationals in detention.
ICE has been criticized by illegal immigrant activists for not curbing its efforts since the crisis began. Likewise, some officials have been recommending that ICE increase “social distancing” in an effort to prevent spreading the virus further.
It is not only ICE that has enacted such policies. Police departments around the country – including those in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn – have announced that they will no longer be pursuing those accused of minor crimes, and have given officers discretion to choose not to arrest suspects.
These precautions, while unfortunate, are indeed necessary, as has been demonstrated by the fact that nearly 500 employees of the Department of Homeland Security have been quarantined as part of coronavirus measures. If law enforcement doesn’t take steps to decrease the risk to its officers, America could find itself without the necessary personnel to maintain law and order, were a significant percentage of them become seriously ill with the coronavirus at the same time.
It seems that protecting America’s sovereignty and defending against criminality will be yet another casualty of the coronavirus’ onslaught.