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Former ICE Chief Had Proposed Slimming Deportation List

A former immigration official says he had suggested non-criminal immigrants be taken off the deportation priority list.

The former head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement had previously proposed removing immigrants who had not committed crimes, other than immigration violations, from a priority list for deportations, The Associated Press reported.

John Sedweg, who served until February as acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said he promoted policy changes that would remove from the deportation priorities list immigrants who have re-entered the country after being removed and people who failed to show for immigration hearings.

That would leave recent border crossers and immigrants who pose a danger to national security or public safety, or those convicted of crimes on the list.

"The time had come to focus ICE's efforts exclusively on public safety and national security," Sandweg told the AP.

President Barack Obama, under pressure from immigration advocates, directed Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to review immigration enforcement policies to ensure they are applied humanely. DHS press secretary Peter Boogaard said that review is ongoing with Johnson meeting and taking ideas from various people, including those who have to implement the policy.

"Any report of specific considerations at this time would be premature," Boogaard said.

Advocates are asking for far wider relief for people in the country illegally.