ICE scaling back operations due to coronavirus outbreak

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is scaling back the aggressive operations it launched under President Donald Trump as the country contends with the new coronavirus outbreak.

ICE says that starting Wednesday it is focusing its efforts on tracking down people in the U.S. without legal authorization who pose a risk to public safety or would be subject to mandatory detention on criminal grounds. The agency had been aggressively detaining anyone in the country without authorization as part of stepped-up enforcement under the Trump administration.

The agency said in a statement that its investigations unit will focus on public safety and national security. That would include drug and human trafficking as well as anti-gang operations and child exploitation cases.

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ICE said the change was temporary and intended to ensure the welfare and safety of the public and its agents.

It will not carry out enforcement operations at or near health care facilities except in "the most extraordinary circumstances" during the crisis.n

The government of El Salvador has announced it will no longer receive deportation flights from the United States or Mexico "until further notice," to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The country's immigration office said Wednesday that it accepted the last flight of deported Salvadorans from the United States on Monday.

El Salvador's international airport closed to all but humanitarian and cargo flights on Tuesday, for 15 days.
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