U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) today announced a new policy directive to consider U.S. military service when determining civil immigration enforcement actions against noncitizens. The implementation of ICE Directive 10039.2, Consideration of U.S. Military Service When Making Discretionary Determinations with Regard to Enforcement Actions Against Noncitizens, will provide agency-wide guidance to ensure service in the U.S. military by a noncitizen or their immediate family members is taken into consideration when deciding whether to take civil immigration enforcement actions against them and what enforcement action to take, if any.
“ICE values the incredible contributions of noncitizens who have served in the U.S. military,” said ICE Acting Director Tae D. Johnson. “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 new directive formalizes this practice as an official agency policy. A noncitizen’s case is considered based on the totality of the circumstances and the review will account for type of discharge, length of service, and other relevant factors in considering U.S. military service.
For the purposes of this directive, references to the U.S. military or U.S. military service refers to service in the United States Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force, Coast Guard, and National Guard, including their reserve components.
This policy enhancement also creates training, tracking, and reporting requirements for program offices specifically requiring that ICE develop and implement a system to collect and maintain relevant data related to noncitizen current and former U.S. service members, while appropriately respecting civil liberties and privacy interests.
ICE will continue to focus the Agency’s resources on the apprehension and removal of noncitizens who are a threat to national security, public safety, and border security based on the Guidelines for the Enforcement of Civil Immigration Law issued by Secretary Mayorkas in September 2021. Relevant factors for consideration include details regarding the noncitizen’s U.S. military service, including the type of discharge.
Today’s 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.