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Phoenix immigration attorney favors Biden’s pause on some deportations

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix immigration attorney thinks it’s smart for the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily halt some deportations for 100 days starting Friday as it reviews immigration enforcement priorities.

“This gives the ability to redirect the limited resources that DHS has to really focus on people who are enforcement priorities,” Ayensa Millan, an immigration attorney with CIMA Law Group, told KTAR News 92.3 FM.

Acting DHS Secretary David Pekoske issued a memorandum Wednesday night, ordering deportations for certain immigrants be paused for 100 days as it reviews immigration enforcement policies.

Deportations will still occur but only for immigrants that pose a threat to national security or public safety and for those who crossed the border illegally on or after Nov. 1, 2020.

“Due to limited resources, DHS cannot respond to all immigration violations or remove all persons unlawfully in the United States,” Pekoske wrote. “Rather, DHS must implement civil immigration enforcement based on sensible priorities and changing circumstances.”

He also stated DHS aims to focus resources “where they are most needed” and to “prioritize responding to threats to national security, public safety, and border security.”

Under former President Donald Trump’s administration, anyone living in the country illegally could be ordered deported with no exceptions.

Millan said many of her clients will benefit from the pause on deportations. She added that she’s hopeful immigrants facing deportation will now be able to file a “stay of removal” so they can go before an immigration judge and explain why they should be allowed to stay.

“Those were pretty much non-existent under the Trump administration,” she said.

Pekoske’s memo also directs the acting director for Immigration and Customs Enforcement to issue by Feb. 1 instruction on how immigrants can request a “stay of removal” and other actions.

Millan added that she sees the memo as “an extension of what the Obama administration did, meaning that now it is giving discretion back to ICE officers, to immigration officers to judges” to decide on immigration cases.

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