-- Brian Hale, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement
ICE works with individuals in removal proceedings to ensure they have ample opportunity to make important decisions regarding the care and custody of their children. Furthermore, as outlined in the agency's June 2010 Civil Enforcement Priorities memo, ICE will typically not detain individuals who are the primary caretakers of children, unless the individual is legally subjected to mandatory detention based on the severity of their criminal or immigration history.
ICE is sensitive to the fact that encountering those who violate our immigration laws may impact families. ICE uses prosecutorial discretion in releasing individuals from ICE custody for humanitarian reasons such as being the sole caregiver of minors and when we are aware that the detention of a non-criminal alien would result in any child (U.S. citizen or not) being left without a parental caregiver. We take great strides to evaluate cases that warrant humanitarian release. For parents who are ordered removed, it is their decision whether or not to relocate their children with them. If parents choose to take their U.S. citizen children with them, ICE assists in every way possible including helping to obtain passports or when possible, allow for voluntary departure.
Overall, ICE is focused on smart and effective immigration enforcement which prioritizes the removal of convicted criminal aliens, threats to national security, recent border crossers, illegal re-entrants and immigration fugitives.