FACT CHECK: Did Joe Biden End Operation Talon By Executive Action?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

A post shared on Facebook claims President Joe Biden signed an executive action ending Operation Talon, an Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) operation dedicated to deporting sex offenders living illegally in the U.S.

Verdict: False

There is no record of Biden signing an executive action to end Operation Talon. The operation was postponed by ICE officers, not the Biden administration, according to the agency.

Fact Check: 

The Facebook post claims Biden signed “an executive action cancelling the Trump Administration’s hard line of sex trafficking,” Operation Talon, which it alleges “resulted in thousands of arrests and deportations.” Operation Talon falls under ICE’s Operation Sex Offender Alien Removal (SOAR), according to Newsweek. SOAR is dedicated to “coordinated foreign-born sex offender enforcement operation” and is still in effect, according to ICE’s website.

Executive actions are actions taken by the president, including executive orders, proclamations and memoranda, CBS News reported. There is no evidence that Biden signed an executive action ending Operation Talon or that the operation resulted in “thousands of arrests and deportations.”

Check Your Fact searched through media outlets’ lists of Biden’s executive actions and found no signed actions directing the postponement of Operation Talon on Feb. 25, the day the Facebook post was shared, or any other date. A search of the White House website likewise turned up no record of Biden suspending the operation through executive action.

The Washington Post reported in early February that Operation Talon had been planned in the final weeks of former President Donald Trump’s administration and had been mothballed, though the Biden administration had “nothing to do with that decision.” The operation was supposed to take effect toward the end of February, according to Newsweek.

Since Operation Talon was postponed before it was supposed to start at the end of February, there is no evidence that ICE had arrested and deported thousands of people through it. (RELATED: Viral Image Claims ICE Agents Will Be At All Polling Stations On Election Day)

ICE told Check Your Fact in an email that the operation had, in fact, been postponed, not cancelled. The agency further confirmed that the decision to delay the operation was made by neither the DHS nor the Biden administration. Furthermore, a DHS official told Reuters that “the logistical decision to delay the schedule was made by operator-level officers, not the Biden administration or DHS leadership.”

18 U.S. attorneys general asked Biden in a signed letter to reverse the cancelation of Operation Talon in February, according to ABC 4 News. Despite the Biden administration not being part of the decision, Robert Kittle, the communications director for South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson, told Reuters that they still stood by their press release, stating, “Regardless of who made the decision, the letter from the attorneys general is asking President Biden to reverse the decision, since it is his administration.”

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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