Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director Tae Johnson testified Thursday before the House Appropriations Committee about resource management and operational priorities.
Watch the hearing in the video player above.
In his opening remarks, Johnson discussed the interim guidance on enforcement priorities that were issued in February with the intention of curbing the number of arrests and deportations that occurred during the Trump administration. He also spoke about ICE’s efforts to address the “humanitarian crisis” at the Southwest border, where more than 569,000 migrants had been apprehended this fiscal year as of March 31.
In regards to Title 42, the rule first invoked by Trump that continues to authorize migrant expulsions on the justification of public health concerns, Johnson said that it has been “critical to ICE’s efforts to ensure adequate space for social distancing and reduce the spread of COVID-19 throughout its detention facilities,” and that if the policy is revoked, an increase in migration at the Southwest border “could compromise these efforts and undermine public health efforts.” Immigrant advocates have urged the Biden administration to revoke the rule now that coronavirus cases are dropping in the U.S.