Immigration and Customs Enforcement will avoid arresting or deporting undocumented immigrants who are victims of crime, except in exceptional circumstances, according to a new directive.The agency’s new policy, issued Wednesday, marks the latest effort by the Biden administration to pivot from the Trump administration and tailor enforcement priorities.Going forward, ICE will require agents and officers to help undocumented victims seek justice and facilitate access to immigration benefits, according to the agency.
“This policy update facilitates victim cooperation with law enforcement, enhances ICE’s criminal investigative efforts, and promotes trust in ICE agents and officers enforcing our laws. It is ICE’s commitment to assist victims of crime regardless of their immigration status,” said Acting Director Tae Johnson. “Through this approach, we minimize the fear of repercussions that enforcement decisions may have on the willingness and ability of noncitizen crime victims to contact law enforcement, participate in investigations and prosecutions, pursue justice, and seek benefits.”
This new directive stems from the ICE leadership memorandum issued July 30, 2021, to review agency, directorate, and program office policies, procedures, guidance and resource needs to ensure that our activities are carried out through a victim-centered approach.
Additionally, ICE also recently launched the Victims Engagement and Services Line (VESL) expanding its services to better assist all victims. These services may be accessed by contacting 1-833-383-1465 or by visiting https://www.ice.gov/vesl.