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March 19, 2020

Thompson to DHS: Stop Issuing Mixed Messages on Immigration Enforcement During Coronavirus

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, released the following statement on the Trump Administration’s mixed messaging on immigration enforcement during the coronavirus pandemic.  Yesterday, DHS issued a notice suggesting in vague and ambiguous terms that ICE would delay enforcement actions to help combat the coronavirus.  Today, however, Acting Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli tweeted what he said was a “clarification” of yesterday’s announcement “in light of widespread misreporting.”  Equivocating, Cuccinelli stated ICE will continue conducting enforcement operations. 

“With such dangerous mixed messages, the Trump Administration is continuing to prioritize its draconian anti-immigrant policies over ensuring the health of our nation at a time when we all, collectively, face a global pandemic.

“To successfully combat the coronavirus, we must ensure that rapid, widespread, accurate testing is conducted on everyone who needs it and that medical care is provided to all who fall ill.  In service of this critical national objective, the Trump Administration must state—publicly, formally, and clearly—that all ICE raids will stop during this crisis except against felons or those who pose a risk to national security and that no testing or treatment for COVID-19 will lead to any form of immigration enforcement, cause any immigrant to lose eligibility for a green card or citizenship now or in the future, or cause any other immigration-related consequence. 

“Otherwise, our effort to combat the coronavirus will be severely undermined because immigrants will understandably be too afraid to reveal themselves to public authorities even if they experience symptoms of COVID-19.”

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