Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas recently issued a memorandum with enforcement guidelines for the apprehension and removal of aliens who are in the United States in violation of our immigration laws. The objective of the guidelines is to prioritize the apprehension and removal of deportable aliens who pose a threat to national security, public safety, or border security.

Mayorkas’ guidelines are the final version of interim guidelines that were issued in a previous memorandum on Jan. 20, 2021.

Former president Donald Trump also prioritized the removal of aliens who pose a threat to our public safety, and he was successful in achieving that objective.

Biden won’t be.

Biden’s interim guidelines severely impede ICE’s efforts to arrest aliens who pose a threat to public safety — and the final guidelines will too.

In fiscal 2018, approximately 138,117 (87 percent) of the 158,681 aliens Trump’s administration arrested in the interior of the country were convicted criminals or had pending criminal charges; in fiscal 2019, it was 123,128 (86 percent) of 143,099, and in fiscal 2020, it was 93,061 (90 percent) of 103,603.

According to a Washington Post article, Biden’s interim guidelines reined in ICE enforcement so severely that the agency’s 6,000 officers were averaging one arrest every two months, which isn’t enough to achieve enforcement objectives of any kind. And the situation hasn’t improved much since then.

ICE arrested and booked into detention 4,281 aliens during September 2021. This raises the average number of arrests … with detention … to almost one every month and a half, but 75.6 percent of them had no criminal record.

Biden’s enforcement guidelines also may be responsible to some extent for the border crisis, but that situation may be due primarily to reversing Trump’s border security measures.

Mayorkas’s memorandum prioritizes deportable aliens in the following categories (slightly paraphrased):

1. Threat to National Security — An alien is considered a threat to national security if he has engaged in or is suspected of engaging in terrorism or espionage.

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Published originally on The Hill.

Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years. He subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. Follow him at