The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week released two memos implementing the President’s Executive Orders on immigration enforcement. Click here to view the memos.
What Does All This Mean?
In addition to directing the planning and building of a wall along the Southern border, the memos also articulate ICE’s plans for escalated enforcement of detention and deportation. Some of the main features of the memos include:
- Narrowing the definition of “unaccompanied alien child” for children seeking shelter in the U.S. from domestic violence and crime at home. The memos also invoke civil or criminal penalties (against the children’s parents) for receiving and sheltering these children upon their arrival in the U.S.
- Increasing investigation and detention of both those attempting to enter at a U.S. border seeking asylum as well as unauthorized foreign nationals found in the U.S.
- Categorizing virtually all unauthorized foreign nationals as a removal “priority.” The Obama Administration prioritized detention and removal to first target those convicted of felonies and serious misdemeanors. The Trump Administration in effect no longer differentiates between criminals and those unauthorized foreign nationals living here peacefully with their families.
- A surge in hiring of an additional 5,000 Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents and 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers.
- Fostering increased cooperation between local law enforcement and DHS.
So, What’s Next?
While the new policies outlined in the memos are cause for alarm, all is not lost. Implementation of these directives will depend on several factors. First, Congress must grant massive budget increases to implement these activities such as building and staffing more detention facilities and hiring more officers. Second, although the memos direct a surge in hiring, it will take years to recruit, screen, hire and train new border patrol agents and deportation officers before they can fully step into their roles. Third, a dispute is already brewing between many towns, cities and the Trump Administration over local law enforcement cooperation with ICE in apprehending and detaining unauthorized foreign nationals. Last, implementation of these measures must still comport with law and the Constitution. All people on U.S. soil are protected by the Constitution’s guarantees of due process and equal protection. The government cannot violate existing law or trample the Constitution, and disputes over these principles are settled by courts, not by government bureaucrats.
We’re Here To Help
The attorneys at Antonini & Cohen Immigration Law Group have years of experience representing foreign nationals before CBP, ICE, in removal and bond proceedings, and before federal courts. If you or a loved one are detained or have been placed in proceedings, we can help. Contact us today.
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