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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.”

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STEVE RHODES / FLICKR

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.

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U.S. Army Corps of Engineers/FLICKR

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
CREDIT: 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.

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FOX NEWS / YOUTUBE

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.”

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Satish Krishnamurthy/FLICKR

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.


READ: Trump Nominates His First Latino Cabinet Member For Secretary Of Labor

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Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

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Trump Labels Cuba A State Sponsor Of Terrorism As His Own Supporters Face Similar Allegations

Yander Zamora/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

In a move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration, Trump has moved to put Cuba back on the list of nations that allegedly sponsor terrorism.

Obama had taken Cuba off of that list in 2015 and with four years to Cuba back on the list, many agree that Trump has simply put Cuba back on the list to make life difficult for President Biden.

The Trump administration has put Cuba back on the list of countries that “sponsor terrorism.”

With just days left in office, Trump has moved to label Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism” in a last-minute move that is sure to complicate things for the incoming Biden administration.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo justified the controversial move which reverses Barack Obama’s 2015 decision to remove Cuba from the list after more than three decades – by accusing Havana of “repeatedly providing support for acts of international terrorism in granting safe harbour to terrorists”.

Pompeo also alleged Cuba was engaging “in a range of malign behavior across the region”, highlighting its support for Venezuela’s authoritarian leader Nicolás Maduro who Trump has unsuccessfully tried to overthrow.

The controversial step places Cuba alongside Iran, North Korea and Syria as state sponsors of terror.

However, most officials agree that Trump’s claims about Cuba are bogus.

Many international observers – including U.S. allies – aren’t impressed by the administration’s claims that Cuba is sponsoring terrorism.

In an interview with The Guardian, Christopher Sabatini, a senior fellow for Latin America at Chatham House, said “These are trumped up charges. Terrorism as an international definition is committing acts of violence against unarmed civilians intended to frighten the population. Cuba doesn’t do that. Yes, it represses its own people – but so does Saudi Arabia.”

Groups that favor greater U.S. engagement with Cuba criticized the announcement.

“There is no compelling, factual basis to merit the designation,” according to Ric Herrero, executive director of the Cuba Study Group, a Washington DC-based organization that supports engagement with the island. “Instead it appears to be another shameless, last-ditch effort to hamstring the foreign policy of the incoming Biden administration and set the stage for the next election in Florida, all at the expense of the Cuban people and relations between our countries.”

Many observers agree that Trump’s move is simply a gift to party hardliners in Florida, and likely a deliberate attempt to make life difficult for the incoming Biden administration who may wish to end deténte with Cuba.

Of course, Cuban officials reacted angrily to the announcement.

After the announcement, Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez tweeted: “We condemn the US announced hypocritical and cynical designation of #Cuba as a State sponsoring terrorism. The US political opportunism is recognized by those who are honestly concerned about the scourge of terrorism and its victims.”

Reversing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s action would require the Biden administration to certify to Congress that there has been a fundamental change in leadership in Cuba and that the government is not supporting acts of international terrorism, has not for the previous six months and will not do so in the future.

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

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Someone Mutilated A Manatee With The Name ‘Trump’— Now There’s A Federal Investigation

Michael Wood/Stocktrek Images

Just when we thought Trump supporters couldn’t disgust us more, one disfigured a manatee by etching “Trump” into its back.

Sadly, over the weekend, a manatee was found in Florida’s Homosassa River with the name “Trump” scratched into its back. The discovery has prompted federal officials to open an investigation into the disfigurement of the threatened species.

A mutilated manatee was found over the weekend with the name Trump scratched into its back.

According to a report published by the Citrus County Chronicle, it is unclear when and how the manatee was mutilated. It is also unknown whether the current investigation has made any leads in regards to the perpetrators. Still, footage of the abused animal has sparked outrage online.

Douglas Nowacek, a professor of Conservation Technology at Duke University told Vice that the incident is “one of the most horrifying things I have ever seen done to a wild animal.” In a separate email, Ruth Carmichael, a Senior Marine Scientist at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab and a Professor of Marine Sciences at the University of South Alabama described the act a “horrific” to VICE saying “I have no words to express how deeply troubling, thoughtless, and potentially cruel this is.” 

Marine biologists say that it is unclear just how much harm the mammal endured.

“It’s a little hard to see the extent of damage from the video,” Carmichael explained. “It is harassment regardless. If the scrape penetrates the skin, then it likely caused some pain and stress. The animals have nerves and sensory hairs in the skin. Additionally, open wounds could become infected.” 

According to Graham Worthy, Department Chair and Pegasus Professor at the University of Central Florida who spoke to VICE the letters could mostly be shallow, and may mostly be algae scraped off the animal’s back making“ injury would be virtually non-existent.”

Still, physically hurt or not, the manatee in question was clearly harassed by a person. As such the perpetrator could face severe penalties if found. 

“Violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act may result in fines of up to $100,000 and one year’s imprisonment for individuals and up to $200,000 for organizations,” Worthy told Vice. “It is illegal to approach and make contact with these animals let alone deface or injure them. It is illegal to feed or harass wild marine mammals including dolphins, porpoises, whales, seals, sea lions, and manatees. You are not allowed to feed, swim with, or harass these marine animals… They should be observed from a distance of at least 50 yards.”

The mutilated manatee is a West Indian manatee and is a herbivorous mammal found in coastal areas of the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea. Up until 2017, the species was considered endangered by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. Today, conservation status is listed as “threatened.”  

As many users of social media have noted, perhaps one of the most disturbing aspects of the images that humans already cause so much pain and suffering to innocent animals. When does it stop?

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