Homeland Security Is Changing How It Will Tackle Immigration. Here Are Some Important Things You Should Know
On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security announced its plans for tackling immigration reform under President Trump. The reforms allow departments like ICE to take a less restrained approach to both border security and immigration control. Here are a few of the details from the recently released memos from Homeland Security.
The memos broaden the definition of “criminal aliens” to include those with less serious infractions.
The memos released by the Department of Homeland Security outline the types of crimes that could make immigrants vulnerable to ICE. This includes individuals who have “engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation,” those who have “abused any program related to receipt of public benefits,” and those who “pose a risk to public safety” as determined by “an immigration officer.”
The Department of Homeland Security memo calls for ICE to hire an additional 10,000 “officers and agents.”
As the number of immigrants subject to deportation has increased, arrests are expected to increase as well. To keep up, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has asked for the expeditious hiring of 10,000 ICE employees. So far little has been said about where these 10,000 agents will come from.
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly has also called for an additional 5,000 Border Patrol Agents.
According to the memo, the increase is needed because the U.S. Customs and Border Protection currently “has insufficient agents/officers to effectively detect, track, and apprehend all aliens illegally entering the United States. The United States needs additional agents and officers to ensure complete operational control of the border.”
More undocumented immigrants could face expedited removal due to changes in the procedure.Credit: fibonacciblue / Flickr
The memos released by the Department of Homeland Security outlines changes in the rule governing which immigrants are subject to expedited removal. Under the old terms, undocumented immigrants could only be targeted if they were found within 100 air miles of the border and if they had been in the country for 14 days or less.
Under President Trump, undocumented immigrants anywhere in the country can be rounded up, and they must prove that they have lived in the U.S. for more than two years.
The Department of Homeland Security memos outline a few exceptions to the expedited removal terms.
These exceptions include:
The alien is an unaccompanied alien child […] indicates an intention to apply for asylum or a fear of persecution or torture or a fear of return to his or her country, or claims to have a valid immigration status within the United States or to be a citizen or national of the United States.
According to the memos, some immigrants that qualify for expedited removal can claim asylum if they “claim fear of return.” Asylum officers will then “determine whether they have established a credible fear of persecution or torture.”
Individuals caught attempting to enter the country will held at detainment facilities around the border.
The memo calls for an increase in facilities to detain immigrants until their cases can be heard, which would effectively end the program known as “catch-and-release,” where detainees were released and asked to return to court at a later date. In order to speed up the processing of people detained at the border, “the Department will publish in the Federal Register a new Notice Designating Aliens Subject to Expedited Removal.”
However, unaccompanied “alien children” will receive “special protections to ensure that they are properly processed.”
The memos define “unaccompanied alien children” as someone who is not legally in the United States, not yet 18 years of age, and has “no legal guardian” or “parent of legal guardian” in the U.S. According to the memo, a child that meets the requirements will “be transferred to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) within 72 hours.” They will also find “placement in a suitable care facility” and have “access to social services.”
Those under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program are currently still protected.
According to USA Today, members of the DACA program are still protected and will remain so as long as they do not break any rule of the program. At last week’s new conference, President Trump has said he would show “great heart” when making a decision about DACA. However, a few days earlier 23-year-old DACA recipient Daniel Ramirez Medina was detained by ICE, allegedly because of his tattoo.
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