Two memoranda issued by the Department of Homeland Security today may increase the number of illegal aliens detained and/or deported as part of the Trump administration’s efforts to control illegal immigration. While they are intended to put into effect President Trump’s immigration actions of last month, the memoranda do not overturn Barack Obama’s action on immigration of 2012 that created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA halted the deportation of individuals who came into the country illegally as children and gave 750,000 of them work permits.
 

Deportation

Outlined in the memoranda are new policies intended to “facilitate the detection, apprehension, detention and removal” of undocumented immigrants “who have no lawful basis to enter or remain in the United States.” A provision holds that those arrested in the U.S. and deemed inadmissible would need to prove that they have been in the U.S. continuously for two years. Otherwise, they could be subject to expedited removal with no court proceedings. Previously, the policy had been to authorize expedited removal those undocumented immigrants found within 100 air miles of the border and within 14 days after entering the country.
 
The Trump administration does not have an absolute number of illegal immigrants targeted for deportation, nor does it seek to conduct mass deportations. Officials say that while they will enforce laws passed by Congress, there are practical limitations to what the Department of Homeland Security and its Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency can do because of a lack of sufficient personnel, time, and resources.
 
The DHS memos authorize the immediate return of undocumented Mexican immigrants who are caught at the border, while also calling for faster deportation proceedings by resorting to a surge of immigration judges and asylum officers.
 

Unaccompanied minors

The memoranda also address the arrival of minors who came from Mexico and Central America and crossed over the border into the US over the last three years. Detailed in the plan is that parents may be prosecuted if the minors were brought in by smugglers. 
 

More ICE agents and border patrol

The government is directed to hire an additional 10,000 more agents for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, as well as 5,000 more Border Patrol officers. The planning, design, and construction of a border wall is also directed. In addition, President Trump has called on all executive departments to identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect federal aid or assistance to Mexico.


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Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat and the editor of Spero News.

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