Under Donald Trump’s New Immigration Laws, Millions Can Be Deported…Immediately

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Donald Trump has made good on a promise he made during his recent press conference regarding the unveiling of new directives concerning immigration. Today (February 21), the Department of Homeland Security explained the new laws, which both enforce parts of laws already on the books while adding entirely new and more aggressive tactics altogether.

As reported by the New York Times, the Trump administration’s latest executive orders will bring “a major shift in the way the agency enforces the nation’s immigration laws.” The report lists three areas of major development in immigration policy. Firstly, undocumented immigrants with any criminal convictions on their records will be made “priority for removal,” whereas the Obama administration placed importance on those convicted of “serious” crimes. “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 report cites from the DHS documents.

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Another area in which more vigorous action is being called for is in the expeditiousness of removals, effectively “allowing Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to deport more people immediately.” This is an expansion of procedures that were already in place during President Obama’s tenure, during which time “expedited removal was used only within 100 miles of the border for people who had been in the country no more than 14 days.” However, under Trump, illegal immigrants who have lived anywhere in the U.S. for up to two years can be deported.


Thirdly, these new directives will aim to restore the 287(g) program, a section of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (and scaled back by Obama) which “authorizes the Director of ICE to enter into agreements with state and local law enforcement agencies, permitting designated officers to perform immigration law enforcement functions.” The Times explains that now, local police officers and sheriff’s departments can be recruited to help with immigration efforts, “making them de facto immigration agents.”

In speaking with reporters, DHS senior officials said that Trump’s new directives are “intended to more fully make use of the enforcement tools that Congress has already given to the department to crack down on illegal immigration,” suggesting that these new strategies are only enforcing laws already on the books. However, the Times also reports that “officials also made clear that the department intended to aggressively follow Mr. Trump’s promise that immigration laws be enforced to the maximum extent possible,” which the Times describes as “marking a significant departure” from directives implemented by the Obama administration.

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Enacting these new “enforcement priorities,” the Times reports, will require 10,000 immigration and customs agents to be hired as well as an expansion in the number of detention facilities and the creation of an office within ICE devoted entirely to helping “families of those killed by undocumented immigrants.”

However, there do remain some protections for undocumented immigrants. “[N]othing in the directives would change the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, which provides work permits and deportation protection for the young people commonly referred to as Dreamers,” explains the report.

Those seeking legal or other forms of support for immigrants are urged to utilize resources made available by the Immigration Advocates Network, who fight for the undocumented, as well.