Republicans Push Secretary Mayorkas to End ICE’s ‘Anti-Enforcement’ Policy

Two Republican senators are pushing Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas to end an ICE policy they call “anti-immigration enforcement,” arguing that the rule is worsening the country’s illegal immigration crisis.

On Thursday, Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and James Lankford (R-OK) sent a letter to Mayorkas asking the DHS secretary when he plans to end US Immigration and Custom Enforcement’s “prosecutorial discretion” policy. Since April, the policy has allowed agency officers to evaluate on a case-by-case basis whether to pursue prosecution of certain migrants.

In a statement, Grassley claimed the agency’s policy was harming immigration law enforcement and directly contributing to the nation’s illegal migrant problem.

“Secretary Mayorkas and the Department of Homeland Security are charged with fully and faithfully enforcing our immigration laws,” Grassley said. “This memo from the Principal Legal Advisor within ICE was misguided and is yet another Biden Administration initiative designed to severely undermine robust enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.”

Grassley went on to say that the United States’ “illegal immigration crisis” would “only get worse” if the policy were to stay in place.

The ICE policy was first instituted in April, when ICE Principal Legal Advisor Kerry Doyle issued a memo directing agency officers to practice “prosecutorial discretion” in their enforcement of immigration laws. The memo was based on an earlier one from Mayorkas himself, in which the DHS secretary advocated for a “case-by-case assessment of whether an individual poses a threat” and requires prosecution.

The Mayorkas memo — on which the later prosecutorial discretion memo is based — was vacated, however, after a federal judge in the Southern District of Texas ruled that the practice violated federal law.

Now, Grassley and Lankford are calling on Mayorkas to end ICE’s policy of prosecutorial discretion for good, arguing that the agency can’t base its guidelines off of Mayorkas’ federally-vacated memo.

“Given the recent federal court ruling vacating Secretary Mayorkas’ September 30 memo, we need to know that DHS will soon rescind this OPLA guidance memo as well, and start doing its job and enforce our laws,” Grassley said. “Otherwise, the illegal immigration crisis insitgated by this administration’s irresponsible policies will only get worse.”