Officials from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency said their work has been at risk as a result of diminished resources.

ICE officials claimed more of their officers are patrolling the streets due to over 300 counties and cities and California, Connecticut, Illinois, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. passing legislation limiting detention requests issues by immigration enforcement.

According to the Associated Press, ICE officers had been assigned to local and state law enforcement agencies to assist with immigrant detainees who are taken into federal custody for immigration court or deportation.

More than 300 counties and states have instead moved to release many immigrants, citing most undocumented immigrants committed low-level to no crimes, which led to deferment from deportation and reunification with families.

ICE has said its detainment and deportation priorities changed, and their focus is on immigrant criminals who pose a threat to the community or nation. Local law enforcement have proved little assistance for ICE. During the first eights months of 2014, ICE filed approximately 105,000 requests for local law enforcement to help detain immigrants, but 8,800 of those requests were denied.

"We are in a situation in which we have to provide more men, more workers, more manpower in the streets, where it is more dangerous to take custody of somebody," said Christopher Shanahan, field office director for Enforcement and Removal Operations in New York, to the Associated Press. "On the street, when you go into a house, a place of employment, when you are arresting somebody, you don't know if they have weapons, you don't know the surroundings."

In New York City, the largest city for immigrants worldwide, legislation was signed last November to limit partnerships with ICE, unless a federal warrant is issued or the individual is on the terrorist watch list or has committed a serious crime in the past five years.

ICE, one of the three major federal agencies of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has been affected by President Barack Obama's immigration executive actions from Nov. 20. In a memorandum to DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson, Obama's executive action provides improved direction for immigration agencies to focus on national security threats, including individuals with criminal convictions and recent unlawful entrants.

The executive action clarified DHS procedures and policy on prioritizing deportations of individuals, which includes more opportunities for undocumented immigrants to stay in the U.S., particularly those living in the country for several years with no crimes committed.

Internal training materials have also revealed ICE agents will be tasked to identify immigrants eligible for Obama's deferred action programs. Prior to the executive actions, immigrants or their legal counsel were responsible for determining if they qualified for any programs to stay in the U.S. Immigration agents were also provided with a checklist and details on how to proceed with such undocumented immigrants. The checklist would help determine immigrants' eligibility for the deferred action programs.

As Latin Post reported, Obama announced new and expanded deferred action programs for approximately 4.9 million eligible undocumented immigrants to temporarily avoid deportation. One program is the creation of the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), which allows undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents to apply for a three-year stay in the U.S. and obtain a work permit. APA comes following the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was created in June 2012 and expanded during the Nov. 20 prime time address. The expanded DACA rules would allow undocumented immigrant youths who have been in the U.S. before Jan. 1, 2010, to stay in the U.S. for a renewable three-year period.

The updated deferred action programs, however, have been temporarily paused by a U.S. federal district court judge pending further review of Obama's authority to enact the immigration executive action.


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