Biden Admin Cancelling Fines For Illegals Who Refuse To Leave U.S.

(Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)

On Friday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that he had ordered Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to cancel fines for illegal immigrants who refuse to leave the United States, claiming that the fines are “counter to the agency’s best interest.”

“There is no indication that these penalties promoted compliance with noncitizens’ departure obligations,” Mayorkas said. “We can enforce our immigration laws without resorting to ineffective and unnecessary punitive measures.”

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“ICE intends to work with the Department of Treasury to cancel the existing debts of those who had been fined,” a statement from the Department of Homeland Security said. “Although ICE has had the authority to assess financial penalties to individuals for failing to depart for more than 20 years, the agency did not initiate enforcement of these penalties until 2018. As of January 20, 2021, ICE ceased issuing these fines. This formalizes the Biden Administration’s change in direction.”

Former Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf criticized the news on Twitter, writing, “Just when you think the Biden administration’s immigration policies and agenda can’t get worse … it does.”

Wolf added in a follow up tweet, “How does withdrawing a consequence (i.e. fine) and holding individuals accountable when they overstay their visa and fail to depart in the best interests of DHS?”

The Biden administration’s immigration policy has intentionally been more lenient than under the Trump administration. Immediately after entering office, President Biden set to remove numerous border security policies, including an emergency declaration that allowed more funding to be allocated to border security and the Remain in Mexico policy, which required asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while they waited for their U.S. court hearings.

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President Biden has seemingly done his best to live up to his promise to migrants that the United States would be their “safe haven,” reportedly allowing illegal immigrants to be released into the United States without a court date scheduled. For migrant families that have illegally crossed the Southern border, the Biden administration has spent over $86 million to purchase hotel rooms for them. The purchase of hotel rooms for illegal immigrants occurred soon after the Biden administration forced National Guard members to sleep in parking garages, underlining the administration’s priorities.