ICE scaling back operations due to coronavirus

Posted at 7:51 PM, Mar 18, 2020

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is scaling back the aggressive operations it launched under President Donald Trump as the country contends with the new coronavirus outbreak.

ICE says that starting Wednesday it is focusing its efforts on tracking down people in the U.S. without legal authorization who pose a risk to public safety or would be subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds. The agency had been aggressively detaining anyone in the country without authorization as part of stepped up enforcement under the Trump administration.

The agency said in a statement that its investigations unit will focus on public safety and national security. That would include drug and human trafficking as well as anti-gang operations and child exploitation cases.

ICE said the change was temporary and intended to ensure the welfare and safety of the public and its agents.

It will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities except in “the most extraordinary circumstances” during the crisis.