On December 16, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released a statement announcing a change affecting those coming to the U.S. seeking asylum. ICE will no longer detain asylum seekers who have a credible fear of persecution or torture in their home country if the asylum seekers can establish their identity and do not present a flight risk or a threat to public safety.
The change is a result of efforts to reform ICE detention policies and focus on criminals and those who pose a threat of violence. “These new parole procedures for asylum seekers will help ICE focus both on protecting against major threats to public safety and implementing common-sense detention policies,” said ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton. All arriving asylum seekers are considered eligible for parole, which is a dramatic shift from the previous policy requiring asylum seekers to make requests for parole in writing.
The new guidelines will take effect on January 4, 2010.