The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has announced that in order to ensure the welfare of its agents and the general public in the wake of the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, ICE will relax detentions due to immigration violations.
Effective March 18, 2020 and until further notice, ICE “will focus enforcement on public safety risks and individuals subject to mandatory detention based on criminal grounds.”
“For those individuals who do not fall into those categories, ERO [ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations] will exercise discretion to delay enforcement actions until after the crisis or utilize alternatives to detention, as appropriate,” ICE states.
To ease fear of immigrants seeking medical attention during the COVID-19 pandemic, ICE states that it will not carry out enforcement operations “at or near health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors' offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities, except in the most extraordinary of circumstances. “
ICE encourages anyone feeling unwell to not avoid seeking medical care out of fear of arrest regardless of their immigration status.