The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a new directive that effective immediately, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will consider a noncitizen’s U.S. military service when evaluating deportation and other immigration enforcement. In an ICE press release issued on June 7, ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson said:
“ICE values the incredible contributions of noncitizens who have served in the U.S. military. Through this directive, ICE will consider U.S. military service by a noncitizen or their immediate family members when determining whether to take civil immigration enforcement decisions against a noncitizen.”
“Prior to the implementation of this directive, ICE has long recognized U.S. military service as a mitigating factor that is highly relevant in making case-by-case enforcement decisions.”
The announcement is part of the Immigrant Military Members and Veterans Initiative (IMMVI) which started last year when the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) joined the Department of Veterans Affairs “to provide coordinated support to service members, veterans and their families. As part of the initiative, DHS has extensively reviewed and updated its policies to ensure military service receives proper consideration in all DHS interactions.”
In response to the announcement, Military.com reported that a 2019 Government Accountability Office report found that “ICE did not consistently follow its policies involving veterans who were placed in removal proceedings from fiscal years 2013 through 2018.”
Current and former military service members who need help applying for immigration benefits for themself and their families should seek guidance from an experienced immigration and naturalization attorney. The immigration attorneys at Godoy Law Office in Chicago and Oak Brook, Illinois can help you with your immigration case. If you need help with an immigration issue, please contact our office or call us at 630-912-0322.