Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will issue new rules in early July governing who can and can’t be arrested or deported, the government told a federal judge Monday.
The rules would supersede the current policy, issued in February, that severely restricts who is considered a priority for arrest or deportation.
By one estimate, deportation officers are so constrained by the current rules that they average a single arrest every other month.
Mr. Mayorkas’s new guidance is overdue. He’d said he would have them ready 90 days after the Feb. 18 issuance of the current guidance, which came from acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Tae Johnson.
In a filing with a federal court in Arizona, the Justice Department said Monday that Mr. Mayorkas’s new target date is next month, though the lawyers warned that could still slip. They didn’t give a specific reason for the delay.
“Defendants currently expect that the Secretary will issue new immigration priorities in the beginning of July. Defendants caution that this is their current expectation. The policymaking process is dynamic and responsive to both new events and new information. New priorities may issue either before or after the beginning of July depending on the needs of the agency and other contingencies,” the Justice Department lawyers wrote.
Mr. Mayorkas has said he wants to hear from his own agents and officers about how things are working — but has made clear he believes most illegal immigrants in the country should not be deported.