Trump tar­gets more im­mi­grants for pos­si­ble de­por­ta­tion

Cape Breton Post - - WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

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

Any im­mi­grant who is in the coun­try il­le­gally and is charged or con­victed of any of­fence, 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 of­fences.

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

The new en­force­ment doc­u­ments are the lat­est ef­forts by U.S. 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 lat­est 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 ac­tions would wait 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.

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.

AP PHOTO

In this Feb. 7 photo 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.

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