On a day that White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer assured the press corps that mass deportations would not become the norm in handling U.S. immigration issues, the Department of Homeland Security issued a pair of interrelated memos that broaden the power of federal immigration agents and add teeth to President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration.
The memos, which further shape President Trump’s third and fourth executive orders into policy, call for increasing expedited removals of undocumented immigrants and expand those who could be deported to include all “removable aliens.”
So, under the new rules, immigrants who have “abused” public benefits or “misrepresented themselves” could be deported by immigration officers. What exactly constitutes “abuse” of public benefits is not clearly elucidated in the memos.
To enforce these guidelines, the DHS has outlined a plan to hire some 10,000 immigration officers but specifically how it will do so remains a bit of a mystery.
In tandem with the hiring move, the memos also direct Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection to resuscitate “the 287-g program” that allows local police officers and sheriff’s deputies to assist in deportation.
Such cooperation could be difficult be to come by, though, as numerous cities across the country have refused to help deport undocumented immigrants. President Trump has floated the idea of denying federal funding to such cities to force compliance.
The memos also make clear that Trump has directed all relevant agencies to examine just how much funding Mexico gets from the U.S., which could be withheld from our southern neighbor to force payment on the proposed wall.
As for the “expedited removals,” the DHS memos mark a dramatic shift from President Barack Obama’s immigration policies (which saw some three million deportations). During President Obama’s tenure, expedited removal only applied to individuals caught within 100 miles of the border who had been in the country less than two weeks.
Now, individuals who have been here less than two years and live anywhere in the country can be targeted for expedited deportation. Under these rules, undocumented immigrants could be deported without a hearing or a review of the specific details of their case.
According to Politico, “serious criminals” remain the top priority for DHS even while such memos move past cartel members and gang leaders.
To see Trump’s executive orders on immigration explained further, head here.