New Trump deportation rules allow far more expulsions
New enforcement policies bring full weight down on illegals
U.S. President Donald Trump has directed his administration to more aggressively enforce the nation’s immigration laws, unleashing the full force of the federal government to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.
Documents released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by immigrants; enlist local police officers as enforcers; strip immigrants of privacy rights; erect new detention facilities; discourage asylum seekers; and, ultimately, speed up deportations.
The new enforcement policies put into
practice the fearful speech that Trump offered on the campaign trail, vastly expanding the definition of “criminal aliens” and warning that such people in the country illegally “routinely victimize Americans,” disregard the “rule of law and pose a threat” to people in communities across the United States.
Despite Trump’s talk, research shows lower levels of crime among immigrants than among native-born Americans.
But taken together, the new policies are a rejection of the sometimes more restrained efforts by former Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush and their predecessors, who sought to balance protecting the nation’s borders with fiscal, logistical and humanitarian limits on the exercise of laws passed by Congress.
“The faithful execution of our immigration laws is best achieved by using all these statutory authorities to the greatest extent practicable,” John F. Kelly, the secretary of Homeland Security, wrote in one of two memorandums released Tuesday. “Accordingly, department personnel shall make full use of these authorities.”
The immediate impact of that shift is not yet fully known. Advocates for immigrants warned Tuesday that the new border control and enforcement directives would create an atmosphere of fear that was likely to drive those in the country illegally deeper into the shadows.
Administration officials said some of the new policies — like one seeking to send unauthorized border crossers from Central America to Mexico while they await deportation hearings — could take months to implement and might be limited in scope.
For now, so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as young children, won’t be targeted unless they commit crimes.
Trump has not yet said where he will get the billions of dollars needed to pay for thousands of new border control agents, a network of detention facilities to detain people in the country illegally and a wall along the entire southern border with Mexico.
But politically, Kelly’s actions Tuesday serve to reinforce the president’s standing among a core constituency — those who blame people in the country illegally for taking jobs away from citizens, committing heinous crimes and being a financial burden on federal, state and local governments.
And because of the changes, millions of immigrants in the country illegally now face a far greater likelihood of being discovered, processed and deported.
“Under this executive order, ICE will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement,” a fact sheet released by the Department of Homeland Security said, using the acronym for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “All of those present in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
That includes people convicted of fraud in any official matter before a governmental agency and people who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.”
The policy also calls for an expansion of expedited removals, allowing Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to immediately deport more people. Under the Obama administration, expedited removal was used only within 100 miles of the border for people who had been in the country no more than 14 days. Now it will include all those who have been in the country for up to two years, no matter where. The change will require an increase in resources.