Sunday, March 5, 2017

Two Homeland Security memos ease way for crackdown on undocumented immigrants

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued two new memos that amount to a sweeping crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

The Middle East Eye claims that the new directives put "nearly all of the country's 11 million unauthorized foreigners in their crosshairs". However, the priority for deportation will remain, as it was with Obama, the deportation of those convicted of crimes. It will also include as a priority those who have been charged or potentially face charges. Those previously regarded as low priority by the Obama administration are no longer protected.
The two memos were issued by DHS Secretary John Kelly and order border patrol and immigration officers to deport as quickly as they can any undocumented immigrants found, with few exceptions mostly children. The memos come as Trump is said to be preparing new executive orders restricting immigration from a number of Muslim majority nations. The DHS said: "With extremely limited exceptions, DHS will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings, up to and including removal from the United States."
A draft memo obtained by the Associated Press 5 days ago showed that the Trump administration was considering using up to 100,000 National Guards to help speed up deportations. Trump's personal secretary denied the report. Perhaps, the memo represented a possible scenario that was never actually discussed. The draft includes National Guards in the four borders states: Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California but extends to seven other states. The governors in the eleven states would have the final say in whether the National Guard were used for the task. Kelly also ordered the hiring of another 5,000 officers for the Customs and Border Protection agency and 10,000 for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. No doubt this addition to the government payroll will be offset by job terminations in such areas as enforcement of regulations on companies as Trump reduces regulations to boost corporate profits. Trump has also ordered a wall built along the 2,000 mile long U.S. Mexican border. There are to be meetings this week between Kelly, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Enrique Pena Nieto President of Mexico, in Mexico. The two American officials will meet with other Mexican officials as well to discuss border security, law enforcement and trade.
The new rules will make it much easier for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol and Customs Service (CBP) to automatically expel undocumented immigrants rather than require mass detentions and judicial review that critics claim have overburdened the government. Giving people rights seems to becoming more and more a burden and "inefficient".
In one memo, Kelly said: "The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States. Thousands of aliens apprehended at the border, placed in removal proceedings, and released from custody have absconded and failed to appear at their removal hearings. Immigration courts are experiencing a historic backlog of removal cases."
The new guidelines could have a negative effect on the upcoming meeting with Mexico. Arturo Sarukhan, former Mexican ambassador to the U.S. said: "It does poison the general context in which the trip is taking place. It will create public opinion backlash and congressional backlash in Mexico." Angelica Salas of the Los Angeles-based Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights said: "Secretary Kelly has unleashed an unprecedented witch hunt on millions of immigrant families. These guidelines represent an unlawful, expedited process, a dragnet, to remove undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. This is a dastardly approach to a very human issue." Omar Jadwar of the ACLU said that the new memos will no doubt face legal challenges. Jadwar said: "These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy."
The text of one memo can be found here and the other here. The new rules seem likely to worsen relations with Mexico making any amicable renegotiation of NAFTA quite unlikely.

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