The memo states that the 100-day pause applies to to all noncitizens with final deportation orders except those who have engaged in a suspected act of terrorism, people not in the US before Nov. 1, 2020, or those who have voluntarily agreed to waive any right to remain in the US. There is also an exception for individuals who the acting director of ICE determines should be deported. The memo did not immediately address those in ICE detention.

The directive is a monumental shift in the agency’s approach to immigration enforcement and represents the beginning of a new era under the Biden administration, which has promised reforms of how ICE prioritizes which immigrants to detain and deport.

“It’s hard to overstate the importance of this, both in substance and in tone. It’s a new day at the department. We’ve been given the opportunity to step back from the steady, unending drumbeat of removals to re-focus and better identify where our resources should go and how they should be deployed,” said one DHS official on the condition of anonymity. “That’s a gift, and will only lead to a better, and hopefully more humane, department.”