The Biden administration issued a mandate that could lead to 1 million migrants being pardoned by 2024, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) lawyers quietly have started to toss tens of thousands of the 2 million backlogged cases in immigration court after an order not to prosecute illegal border crossers from before the November 2020 election, according to leaked information reviewed by the Examiner.
"This is a de facto amnesty," an ICE federal prosecutor told the outlet.
Kerry Doyle, ICE's principal legal adviser, held virtual meetings with the more than 1,200 prosecutors who bring cases against illegal immigrants nationwide. She explained who should not be targeted for deportation.
The Examiner obtained leaked video recordings of the meetings, in which the message was that illegal immigrants identified as national security and public safety threats, or those who had crossed the border illegally after Nov. 1, 2020, would be the only cases ICE would pursue.
"As the memo explains — I think pretty clearly — we've put our thumb sort of heavily in favor of dismissal and durable solutions," Doyle told the prosecutors in a private town hall meeting on April 14, the Examiner reported.
"Even if you’ve spent a lot of time on the case, if it's a nonpriority, you should be moving to offer [prosecutorial discretion] in that case."
The Examiner said that between 60,000 and 80,000 cases had been closed since Doyle’s mandate took effect April 25.
Case closures eight months into the 2022 fiscal year — more than 97,000, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse — are up fourfold from all of 2021.
ICE attorneys were on pace potentially to hit 360,000 to 480,000 closed cases by next April and 1 million by early summer 2024.
Fewer than 50 cases fell under the national security priority and no more than 25,000 would be deemed a public safety threat, the Examiner reported. Migrants with criminal records would not be considered a public safety threat automatically.
ICE sources told the Examiner that they have been undercut by the Biden administration’s policy.
"Congress hasn’t passed it, but [Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro] Mayorkas’ chief lawyer at ICE is telling all prosecutors to dismiss cases. Once it’s dismissed, they’re not required to check in with you anymore," an ICE federal prosecutor told the Examiner.
U.S. border officials had taken into custody and released 1,049,532 migrants into the U.S. through last month since President Joe Biden took office.
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