DHS Enacts Several Changes In Immigration Policy

Photograph: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent

Two memos signed Monday by the Department of Homeland Security ushered in a new era of immigration policy.

While President Barack Obama’s executive amnesty protecting illegal immigrants who arrived as children remains in place, the memos bring drastic change by directing DHS employees to follow through on President Trump’s executive orders.

All illegal immigrants (except DREAMers) are subject to deportation

The Obama administration specifically prioritized the most serious of criminals for deportation. But A DHS factsheet released Tuesday stated, “Under this executive order, ICE will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential 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.”

One the memos signed by Homeland Security secretary John Kelly also widely broadens which immigrants are prioritized for deportation to include those who “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

The construction of detention facilities and a border wall

President Barack Obama repeatedly belittled the idea of a border wall while in office, but as of Monday Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is ordered to immediately begin the planning and construction of a wall on America’s land border with Mexico. This represents a fulfillment of one of President Trump’s key campaign promises.

One of the two memos also calls for the the establishment of additional detention facilities.

Expansion of the 287(g) program

President Obama essentially ended the 287(g) program started under President Bush which allowed for state and local enforcement officials to enforce federal immigration law. “From January 2006 through September 2015, the 287(g) program led to the identification of more than 402,000 removable aliens, primarily through encounters at local jails,” Secretary Kelly wrote in one of the recent memos. “Empowering state and local law enforcement agencies to assist in the enforcement of federal immigration law is critical to an effective enforcement strategy.”

Currently only 32 law enforcement agencies in 16 states participate in the program. “In previous years, there were significantly more law enforcement agencies participating in the 287(g) program,” Kelly wrote. “To greatest extent practicable, the Director of ICE and Commissioner of CBP shall expand the 287(g) program to include all qualified law enforcement agencies that request to participate and meet all program requirements.”

Establishing office to help victims of illegal alien crime

Secretary Kelly in a memo ordered ICE to create the Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE), which will provide the victims of illegal immigrant crime and their families information about the offender’s immigration status and custody status, and to address their concerns about immigration efforts.

“To that end, I direct the Director of ICE to immediately reallocate any and all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens (except as necessary to comply with a judicial order) to the new VOICE Office, and to immediately terminate the provision of such outreach or advocacy services to illegal aliens,” Kelly wrote.

Expanding America’s “deportation force”

The memos called for the hiring of an additional 10,000 ICE officers, 5,000 border patrol agents and 500 CBP air and marine officers.

Monitoring sanctuary cities

Secretary Kelly also ordered ICE to produce a weekly public report on illegal immigrant apprehensions, as well as a report on the the release of illegal immigrants from jails by sanctuary jurisdictions. One of President Trump’s immigration orders called for the defunding of sanctuary cities.