BIDEN'S QUIET IMMIGRATION MOVE. Last week the Biden administration took another step in its drive to ease the way for illegal border crossers to stay in the United States. Hardly anyone noticed.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would no longer impose fines on people who are in the United States illegally, who have been ordered by a judge to leave the country, and who refuse to go. (The announcement called them "noncitizens who fail to depart the U.S.") Mayorkas also announced that he would work with the Treasury Department to cancel the debts of those were fined under the Trump administration.
"There is no indication that these penalties promoted compliance with noncitizens' departure obligations," Mayorkas said in a statement. "We can enforce our immigration laws without resorting to ineffective and unnecessary punitive measures."
But the fact is, the Biden administration is not enforcing U.S. immigration laws, or at least not imposing consequences on those who defy U.S. immigration laws. For more than 20 years, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has had the authority to impose fines on those who have been ordered to leave the country but refuse to do so. It wasn't really enforced until President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing officials to begin collecting "all fines and penalties that the [Secretary of Homeland Security] is authorized under the law to assess and collect from aliens unlawfully present in the United States." The fines levied could run up to $500 for each day the person refused to leave the U.S. after a court order.