Archive for Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trump targets many more immigrants for possible deportation

In this photo taken Feb. 7, 2017, released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arrest is made during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens in Los Angeles. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

In this photo taken Feb. 7, 2017, released by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arrest is made during a targeted enforcement operation conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) aimed at immigration fugitives, re-entrants and at-large criminal aliens in Los Angeles. (Charles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP)

February 21, 2017, 10:56 a.m. Updated February 21, 2017, 3:46 p.m.


— Many more people living in the United States illegally could face rapid deportation — including people simply arrested for traffic violations — under a sweeping rewrite of U.S. immigration enforcement policies announced Tuesday by the Trump administration.

Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses.

The Trump administration memos replace more narrow guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.

Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission and those who overstayed their visas.

Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offense, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.

Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offense. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list but, under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before.

The new enforcement documents are the latest efforts by President Donald Trump to follow through on campaign promises to strictly enforce immigration laws. He's also promised to build a wall at the Mexican border — he insists Mexico will eventually foot the bill — and Kelly's memos reiterate calls for Homeland Security to start planning for the costs and construction.

Trump's earlier immigration orders, which banned all refugees as well as foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries, have faced widespread criticism and legal action. A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary halt.

Kelly's enforcement plans call for enforcing a longstanding but obscure provision of immigration law that allows the government to send some people caught illegally crossing the Mexican border back to Mexico, regardless of where they are from. Those foreigners would wait in that country for U.S. deportation proceedings to be complete. This would be used for people who aren't considered a threat to cross the border illegally again, the memo says.

That provision is almost certain to face opposition from civil libertarians and Mexican officials, and it's unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. But the memo also calls for Homeland Security to provide an account of U.S. aid to Mexico, a possible signal that Trump plans to use that funding to get Mexico to accept the foreigners.

Historically, the U.S. has quickly repatriated Mexican nationals caught at the border but has detained immigrants from other countries pending deportation proceedings that could take years.

The memos do not change U.S. immigration laws, but take a far harder line toward enforcement.

One example involves broader use of a program that fast-tracks deportations. It will now be applied to immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States longer than two years.

Since at least 2002 that fast deportation effort — which does not require a judge's order — has been used only for immigrants caught within 100 miles of the border, within two weeks of crossing illegally.

The administration also plans to expand immigration jail capacity. Currently Homeland Security has money and space to jail 34,000 immigrants at a time. It's unclear how much an increase would cost, but Congress would have to approve any new spending.

The American Civil Liberties Union said it would challenge the directives.

"These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy," said Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU's Immigrants' Rights Project.

However, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, applauded the Trump effort, saying the memos "overturn dangerous" policies from the Obama administration.

The directives do not affect President Barack Obama's program that has protected more than 750,000 young immigrants from deportation. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place, though participants could be deported if they commit crimes or otherwise are deemed to be threats to public safety or national security, according to the department.

During the campaign Trump vowed to immediately end that program, which he described as illegal amnesty.

The directives indicate that some young people caught crossing the border illegally by themselves may not be eligible for special legal protections if they are reunited with parents in the United States. And those parents or other relatives that the government believes helped the children would face criminal and immigration investigations.

Under the Obama administration, more than 100,000 children, mostly from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, were caught at the border. Most were reunited with parents or relatives living in the United States, regardless of the adults' immigration status.

The enforcement memos also call for the hiring of 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, but it's unclear how quickly that could take place. Currently, two of every three applicants for Customs and Border Protection jobs fail polygraph exams and there are about 2,000 vacancies.

The government also plans to review a program that allows local police and jailers to act as immigration agents and a program that used fingerprint records from local jails to identify immigrants who had been arrested.


Richard Aronoff 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't think the government needs to increase the number of people targeted for deportation. As of May 2016, there were over 900,000 people with deportation orders according to ICE records. The recently arrested dreamer was one of them based on his criminal record and gang affiliation.

So.....let's review. Who was president then?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 1 year, 2 months ago

This will include all persons identified by the alt right of Mr. Smith as supporters and voters for Hillary Clinton. Citizen or not.

The braying jackass wants to run for re-election ( if not impeached before then) and he cannot run the risk of making another mockery of an election such as we have seen with this one in 2016.

Richard Aronoff 1 year, 2 months ago

Speaking of braying jackass................

Bob Summers 1 year, 2 months ago

They are not "immigrants". They are criminals.

Brett McCabe 1 year, 2 months ago

Except, they are immigrants. Facts are difficult for republicans, but we'll keep trying to help you.

Bob Summers 1 year, 2 months ago

Trespassing is a crime. They are criminals.

Mike Davis 1 year, 2 months ago

Wrong, if you enter this country illegal you are not an immigrant you're an illegal. Facts are difficult for liberal Democrats but we'll keep trying to help you, the law says you're in this country illegally what liberals think is irrelevant. Go President Trump.

Renee Patrick 1 year, 2 months ago

Perhaps a definition from Webster will help. Immigrant. Noun. A person who comes to live permanently in a foreign country.

Matt Daigh 1 year, 2 months ago

Change the headline to illegal immigrants. Shame on the LJW for fearmongering and sensationalism.

Amy Varoli Elliott 1 year, 2 months ago

actually not all of them are here illegally, so the headline is right you just don't fully understand the situation

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Are you saying legal immigrants are going to be deported? I've not seen anything to suggest that legal immigrants will be deported so explain where you're getting that information.

Mike Davis 1 year, 2 months ago

Brock, Amy doesn't want information or facts she just makes things up, sort of like the fake news pushed by CNN, ABC, NBC etc, etc, etc.

Steve King 1 year, 2 months ago

Which one of you is going to go pick the fruit? You seem to forget that $1 Billion in crops in Georgia rotted in the fields because once they kicked out their "laborers" nobody would take those jobs. Nothing has changed. You kick out 11 million people you won't be able to afford food. And that's the tip of the iceberg.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Interesting justification of exploiting people. If we don't exploit illegal workers your food prices will go up.

Scott Burkhart 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe growers need to pay decent wages to entice LEGAL workers to pick the fruit. Aren't you one of the "living wage" people, King?

Greg Cooper 1 year, 2 months ago

Wow, Scott, that's exactly what I've said over and over. Make the reason for illegals to, yes, criminally enter the country and the illegal problem would become something manageable, leaving only political and war-ravaged immigrants to deal with. I blame the businesses who hire them, the INS for not watching them, and anyone who knows the problem and ignores it in favor of financial gain.

The downside? Most of what every solution is: it will cost us more to buy the goods that traditionally are produced by low-paid illegals. We can't have it both ways.

Mike Davis 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey, King this labor force is given a work visa so they can legally enter the U.S.

Richard Aronoff 1 year, 2 months ago

The media is working overtime to conflate illegal immigration with legal immigration.

Brock Masters 1 year, 2 months ago

Has Trump created any new laws or is he simply having the agency carry out existing law? Only ignorant people would criticize the president for carrying out the laws he is charged to carry out.

Congress passes the law and the executive branch carries them out.

Mike Davis 1 year, 2 months ago

Bob I read the same article, Trump is the first president in a long time to put this issue front and center, and his doing the same thing with Islamic terrorism ... Go Trump.

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