President Joe Biden’s administration continued on its course of reversing virtually all of former President Donald Trump’s immigration-related policies over the weekend, with the latest boon for illegal immigrants coming in the form of forgiven fines.
According to The Washington Times, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that his department will cancel all outstanding fines issued to illegal immigrants who have refused to leave the United States, including an amnesty program to forgive fines that were issued under the Trump administration.
While the law allowed for fines to be imposed on illegal immigrants who refuse to leave the country for decades, it was used for the first time under the Trump administration.
Mayorkas failed to provide data on his opinion that the fines didn’t work, only saying that he believes the program is “ineffective.”
“We can enforce our immigration laws without resorting to ineffective and unnecessary punitive measures,” read a statement from his office.
Agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) reportedly used the fines under the Trump administration to punish a number of illegal immigrants in “high-profile” cases who were ordered to leave the United States but, instead, chose to take up sanctuary.
The fines reportedly totaled in the hundreds of thousands of dollars, though it’s unclear how many of those fines were ever paid, if any.
Under Trump, the fines were used not only against illegal immigrants who were issued deportation orders and refused, but also against migrants who agreed to voluntarily leave the United States but ultimately failed to do so.
According to Fox News, the Biden administration has made a number of controversial moves that continue to hamstring federal law enforcement officers with regard to how they’re able to enforce immigration law, including halting most deportations.
As it stands, ICE agents are now only allowed to focus on dealing with illegal immigrants who have come into the country illegally since Nov. 1, those who pose a national security threat, and those who have been charged with committing aggravated felonies.
The guidance is reportedly only temporary, for a period of three months until the Biden administration updates the guidance, but it has generated a number of complaints from federal law enforcement officers who focus on immigration and border security.
While agents are still allowed to pursue deportation charges, they’re now forced to receive approval from higher-ups, which, barring extreme circumstances, was never the case under the Trump administration.