The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has devised new guidelines to detain and deport illegal immigrants residing in the U.S. The guidelines were designed in accordance with the memos signed by the secretary of DHS, John Kelly.
What is in the memoranda?
These memos aspire to carry out President Donald Trump’s directive to constrain illegal immigration. According to Kelly, the rise in illegal immigration from the southern border of the U.S has affected federal departments and reserves significantly, posing a threat to national security. He also stated that the number of apprehensions increased to 15,000 from 10,000 per month in 2016.
The guidance will toughen immigration laws on asylum seekers and could send individuals awaiting immigration proceedings in the United States back to their country of origin. The memos were originally expected to be released on Friday. However, the release was postponed as the White House wanted to review them. They outlined the following plans:
- Bring in more enforcement officers
- Increase the priority list of immigrants marked for instantaneous removal
- Enroll the regional law enforcement to aid in making arrests
- End “catch-and-release” policies which allow individuals to be discharged from detention while waiting for immigration court proceedings
- Increase in the number of immigration judges and detention facilities
Kelly has instructed agency chiefs to hire an additional 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents (ICE) and 5,000 officers in Border Patrol. He asked Customs and Border Protection to begin planning on a wall right away, which includes everything from designing to maintenance. According to Kelly, the wall is instrumental in hampering illicit immigration and is crucial in Trump’s strategy to maintain security at the border.
The DHS will increase the priority of prompt removal the following immigrants:
- Those found guilty of a crime
- Those accused of a crime
- Those who have participated in fraud in front of any government department
- Those who exploited any public benefit program
- Those who have not obeyed orders to leave the country
What about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA)?
Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, that allows young people who were brought into the country illegally as children to stay and obtain work permits was left out of the revised guidelines. 750,000 immigrants have been protected by this program since its commencement in 2012. Trump had indicated that he would “show great heart” to the program, in his latest press conference.
An official from the White House said that the memos were outlines and were being reviewed by the White House Counsel’s Office, looking for changes if any. The administrator chose to remain anonymous as the process was still in progress.