ICE officers given new asylum instructions for migrants

On the same day the Biden administration announced new restrictions on how many migrants will be allowed over the border, a memo was sent to border enforcers mandating new measures to make it as easy as possible to claim asylum.

Instructions from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) acting director Patrick J. Lechleitner to his team includes the installation of signs seemingly instructing migrants what to say to qualify for asylum.

The email also points to “trembling, shaking” or even staying completely silent as behavior, which can back up the “credible fear” of being returned to a home country migrants need to display to claim asylum.

Lechleitner’s email, obtained by The Post, states: “ICE has long recognized that a fear or intention to apply for asylum or related protection can be manifested in many different ways.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers looks on during an operation in California. AP

“Indeed, a fear may be manifested verbally, non-verbally, or physically,” he wrote, adding that indications of fear can include “trembling, shaking, unusual behavior, changes in tone of voice, incoherent speech patterns, panic attacks, or an unusual level of silence.”

If an ICE employee has any doubt about the behaviors or statements constituting a manifestation of fear, they are instructed to tell a supervisor, according to the email.

The Biden administration announced via executive order Tuesday it will restrict access to asylum for those crossing the southern border illegally after illegal migrant encounters hit 2,500 per day for seven consecutive days.

However, even with the new restrictions, roughly 1.8m migrants will still be legally admitted to the US each year.

Sources also told The Post they’re skeptical as to whether the adminstration will actually refuse to process migrants’ claims if they express a credible fear of being returned to their home country.

Internal email instructing ICE officers to allow migrants ample opportunity to claim fear of returning home.
Internal email instructing ICE officers to allow migrants ample opportunity to claim fear of returning home.

According to Lechleitner’s email, signs must also be posted in several areas of ICE detention facilities.

They say if migrants are “hungry or thirsty,” need “medical care,” fear “persecution or torture if removed from the United States,” or if they are “victims of abuse … sexual assault”, or “have witnessed a crime” they should tell an officer and “your claim will be heard.”

The signs must have translations available in Spanish, and 13 other languages, including Chinese, Punjabi and K’iche’ — an indigenous Central American language.

There also must be a video “explaining to noncitizens that they should raise these concerns” that “should be played on a loop.”

“The videos must be played in in-processing areas,” the email reads.

The Biden administration’s latest migration rules lift restrictions on those who arrive as “unaccompanied children, victims of a severe form of trafficking, those who face an acute medical emergency or an imminent and extreme threat to life and safety,” senior administration officials said Tuesday.

Those exemptions will be abused and utilized by cartels in Mexico who are in the business of migrant smuggling, retired Deputy Patrol Agent in Charge of the El Paso Station Clay Thomas told The Post.

By making the categories public, “you just gave them the answer,” Thomas said of the cartels’ operations.

“They already know how to do this and they basically are rewriting their business plan based on what the Biden administration outlined.”

President Joe Biden announces asylum restrictions. Getty Images
President Joe Biden departs after announcing an executive order on enforcement at the U.S.-Mexico border. REUTERS

Border agents have encountered more than 7.6 million migrants crossing the southern border illegally since Biden took office.

Additionally, 1.7 million migrant “gotaways” are known to have illegally sneaked over unapprehended during that time.

Roughly 500,000 others have entered the US using the CBP One phone application at ports of entry through a signature Biden program.

There have also been over 400,000 migrants from Haiti, Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela who have flown to the US via the newly established CHNV parole program, also started by Biden in 2023.

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