Petition Filed For Release At Northwest Detention Center In Tacoma

New DHS guidelines are giving some detainees at the Northwest Detention Center hope for an earlier release.

With implementation of new immigration enforcement guidelines by the Department of Homeland Security going into effect Monday, several individuals detained at ICE facilities filed petitions for release, including an individual at the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma.

In a DHS press release, Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas is quoted as saying “In making our enforcement decisions, we will focus our efforts on the greatest threats while also recognizing that the majority of undocumented noncitizens, who have been here for many years and who have contributed positively to our country’s well-being, are not priorities for removal.”

The new guidelines state that officials should use prosecutorial discretion in evaluating individuals on a case-by-case basis, focusing enforcement, according to the press release, on “those who pose a threat to our national security, public safety, and border security.”

In Mayorkas’ memorandum with the guidelines, sent on September 30, he writes [quote] “The fact an individual is a removable noncitizen therefore should not alone be the basis of an enforcement action against them.” The entire memo can be viewed here.

Maru Mora-Villapando with La Resistencia says the guidelines effectively state that just because someone has a criminal record, this does not mean they are a priority for deportation;“What we’re trying to do here is to prove that even if a person has a criminal record, there’s so many other things to take into consideration before saying no, you must be detained and you must be deported.”

Mora-Villapando says there has been little transparency on the process for evaluating a petition for release from ICE.

The DHS press release states, that ICE [quote] “will ensure there is a fair and equitable case review process that affords noncitizens and their representatives an opportunity to obtain expeditious review of an enforcement action taken,” and that ICE will be issuing a memo on this shortly.

As of December 2, ICE had yet to release a memo on this.

ICE officials directed NWPB to DHS regarding questions on the legal weight of a petition for release and whether ICE has any responsibility to respond to such a petition. DHS could not be reached for comment.