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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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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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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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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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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

ICE Subpoenas Denver Officials Requesting Info On Undocumented Migrants But State Lawyer Says They’re Not Valid

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ICE Subpoenas Denver Officials Requesting Info On Undocumented Migrants But State Lawyer Says They’re Not Valid

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It is the right, under the constitution, of state and local governments, including law enforcement, to refuse to cooperate with federal law. In other words, if the federal government issues a mandate, local officials do not have to comply. That is why some cities abide by Sanctuary policies to protect undocumented immigrants that are being persecuted by government agencies such as U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). However, ICE isn’t bowing down to the constitution and is taking matters to the courts. 

Earlier this week, Homeland Security has issued a subpoena to Denver law enforcement to get information on three Mexican nationals and one Honduran who were previously in custody. 

“Since we have no cooperation at the Denver justice center, we are modifying our tactics to produce information,” Henry Lucero, deputy executive associate director for ICE’s Enforcement and Removal Operations, said, according to the Associated Press

According to the AP, Denver officials have 14 days to respond to the subpoena in three of the cases, but in the other, they have three days to respond. ICE officials allege that all four foreign nationals have been in jail for sexual assault and child abuse and have been previously deported.

“In the past, we had full support. We collaborated in the interest of public safety,” Lucero added. “This is a drastic change. And one ICE is forced to do and puts other agencies on notice that we don’t want this to happen. We want to protect the public.”

Officials at the Denver mayor’s office said they would not comply with the demands of ICE because the paperwork issued by ICE are not proper subpoenas but rather administrative forms and not legal document signed by a judge. 

“The documents appear to be a request for information related to alleged violations of civil immigration law,” Chad Sublet, Senior Counsel to the Department of Safety in Denver, wrote, according to Time magazine. “Based on these facts, we are denying your request.”

Sublet also said that Denver officials have collaborated with ICE on information previously with other requests. He showed documentation that proves Denver responded to “88 requests by ICE between October and December of last year.”

Despite the support of local officials of Sanctuary policies, the majority of those cities have been struck by ICE as they have conducted numerous raids there, including in Denver. 

Cities including Los Angeles, New York, and Chicago all have protections in place for undocumented people, but that has only fueled ICE to conduct raids there and elsewhere. Last year in September, ICE conducted raids in Colorado and Wyoming and, within four days, arrested 42 undocumented immigrants. 

“It is our belief that state sanctuary policies [do] not keep the community safe,” John Fabbricatore, the acting director of the Denver ICE field office, said last year, according to KDVR news. 

“We don’t believe deportation is ever the answer to what criminal activity might be going on,” Jordan García, with the Colorado Rapid Response Network, said in response to the raids

In 2017, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock signed a law that stated law officials would not comply with ICE in any capacity. 

The Denver Public Safety Enforcement Priorities Act was first signed unanimously by the Denver City Council, which was then signed by Mayor Hancock. The mandate “bans city officials from asking an arrested individual’s immigration status.”

While some city officials have prohibited the collaboration between local officials and federal agencies, that has not stopped some from working with ICE to arrest undocumented immigrants. 

Last year in September, the Milwaukee Police Department assisted ICE agents in the detainment of a local resident who was undocumented. Even though Milwaukee does not have a Sanctuary policy in place, Police Chief Morales had previously said a year before they would not collaborate with ICE. 

“I promised to bring back the public trust,” Morales said in 2018. “My job is to bring (back) trust from the community and work with them; my job is not to go out and enforce those types of laws.”

Those statements are why people were outraged that local Milwaukee officers assisted ICE in the detainment of an undocumented father. 

“Chief Morales is gonna love to see police collaborating with ICE,” a bystander said last year as he witnessed ICE and local police working together during that arrest. The Mayor of Milwaukee and police stood on the same grounds that police would “not inform federal immigration officials of whereabouts or behavior of any suspect illegal immigrant.” However, that’s only if a person has never been arrested for a serious crime. 

READ: Woman Records Scene Inside Family Car As ICE Pulls Husband Out While Daughters Cry And Scream

There Might Not Be A Citizenship Question On The 2020 Census But DHS Will Give The Census Citizenship Info

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There Might Not Be A Citizenship Question On The 2020 Census But DHS Will Give The Census Citizenship Info

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After President Donald Trump’s efforts to have a citizenship question on the 2020 census was stopped by the Supreme Court last June, he is now looking to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for help. According to a report from CNN, DHS will be providing citizenship information with the U.S. Census Bureau through administrative records collected in previous years. The share data will be used to make an estimate of the number of citizens and non-citizens in the U.S., including the number of immigrants living in the U.S. illegally.

The information that is being shared with the Census bureau includes “a person’s alien identification number, country of birth and date of naturalization or naturalization application,” the AP reports. Other data will come from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and Customs and Border Protection that will be linked to other shared demographic data. The DHS-Census agreement reads that the citizen information will be used for no longer than two years and then promptly destroyed. 

There is much significance going into the once-a-decade headcount that will determine how $1.5 trillion in federal spending is allocated across the country, as well as how many congressional seats each state gets. 

While the move to share citizenship data between agencies may raise some eyebrows, the Trump administration is defending the move in regards to voting protections. But that’s not how everyone sees it. 

Andrea Senteno, an attorney for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), one of the civil rights groups challenging President Trump’s order in federal court in Maryland, told the AP that the collected data may be wrong or outdated. “The information out there over whether someone is a non-citizen or what type of immigrant status they may be is going to have a lot of holes in it,” Senteno told the AP

This is a potential issue that DHS acknowledges and said in its agreement document that “linking records between datasets is not likely to be 100% accurate.” There are fears that if this data is compiled to produce statistics, people won’t have the ability to correct mistakes as an individual’s citizenship status can change often over a period of time. 

The data that is being compiled from administrative records is also facing legal challenges. According to CNN, a lawsuit, which the government is asking to be dismissed, is being presented that accuses Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross of being “motivated by a racially discriminatory scheme to reduce Latino political representation and increase the overrepresentation of non-Latino Whites, thereby advantaging White voters at Latino voters’ expense.” 

Despite President Trump not getting his citizen question on the 2020 Census, Latino leaders told Congress on Thursday that there are still worries from communities about it. 

President Trump’s efforts to get a citizenship question on the 2020 Census may have been stopped but the fears and anxiety of it still showing up are well alive in many Latino communities across the U.S. At a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Thursday, civil leaders voiced their concerns that census counts may be inaccurate. 

Arturo Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials Educational Fund, blames that on the “failed debacle” of Trump’s proposed citizenship question. He says that while the question was ultimately blocked, there is still fear in the Latino community that information about their legal status will still show up that may add to inaccurate tallies.

“They believe there will be a citizenship question on the form despite its absence and many fear how the data will be used,” Vargas said at the hearing focused on reaching hard-to-count communities in the 2020 census. “This is exacerbated by a hostile environment toward immigrants propagated by this administration.”

Vargas points to the prior census count in 2010 that he says “undercounted 1.5 percent of the Latino population, including some 400,000 children under 5 years old.” That census count made the determination that the US Latino population was  50.5 million. Today, that number is estimated to be close to 60 million people. 

“The 2020 Census is likely to be the largest and most difficult enumeration ever,” said Vanita Gupta, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil & Human Rights, told the AP. “There are no do-overs. We need to get it right the first time.”

The march to the 2020 Census will begin in rural and tribal communities in northern Alaska in no less than two weeks. The rest of the US can start participating by mid-March.

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