Trump Wants to Expand Number of Immigrants Targeted for Deportation
President Donald Trump didn't have enough. After a series of immigration raids last week ended up with the deportation of more than 600 undocumented migrants across the country, the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday issued two memos that confirm Donald Trump's plans for a broadened crackdown on illegal immigration into the US.
The unveiled two memos detail wide-ranging directives focused on both interior enforcement and cracking down on security along the US-Mexico border.
“The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” the DHS secretary, John Kelly, states in the guidelines.
The memorandums would enable federal authorities to more aggressively detain undocumented immigrants, expand the span of immigrants prioritized for removal from the country, and restrict asylum claims by migrants.
The memos set out that any immigrant living in the US illegally who has been charged or convicted of any crime – and even those suspected of a crime – will now be an enforcement priority. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor traffic offenses. At least, the DHS document specifies that the Dreamers (DACA beneficiaries) will not be affected by the new order.
The Deferred Action program (DACA) implemented by the Barack Obama administration in 2012 has enabled some 750,000 young people to avoid deportation.
Despite promising during his election campaign that he would eliminate DACA, last week Trump acknowledged at a press conference that the issue was one of the "most difficult" he was facing and adding that he would deal with it "with heart."
One of the documents released on Tuesday appears to be the final form of a draft memo that was leaked to the Associated Press last week. The draft included other extreme measures, including an instruction to mobilize national guard troops to assist with deportations, but this was not included in the final instruction. Although the White House last week denied this draft was an official document, the DHS memos released on Tuesday contained identical phrases to those in the leaked draft, reported The Guardian.
The White House denied the new guidance was intended to produce mass raids or deportations, even though Trump vowed on the campaign trail to create a deportation force and frequently spoke of removing the roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the US.
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, as reported in The New York Times.