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Feb 21 – The Trump administration plans to direct
immigration agents to greatly expand the categories of
immigrants they target for deportation, according to drafts of
two memos seen by Reuters and first reported by McClatchy news
organization on Saturday.
Two sources familiar with the plans told Reuters the
documents have been approved by Secretary of Homeland Security
John Kelly, but are under final review by the White House. They
are expected to be released to U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) early
Under the orders, hundreds of thousands of people would face
expedited removal proceedings, including those that had not been
prioritized for deportation under former President Barack Obama.
The memos are guidance to instruct agents in the field to
implement two executive orders signed by Trump on Jan. 25
intended to deter future migration and drive out more illegal
migrants from the United States.
One memo instructs ICE agents to ignore Obama’s memos on
immigration priorities that targeted only recent arrivals and
convicted criminal migrants for deportation. Instead, migrants
who have been charged with crimes but not convicted would be
prioritized for deportation. The guidance also allows ICE agents
wide discretion in deciding who to deport and considers anyone
in the United States illegally to be subject to deportation.
The guidance does leave in place Obama’s 2012 executive
action that protected 750,000 people brought to the United
States illegally by their parents. The fate of the policy, known
as DACA, has been hotly debated within the White House,
according to sources familiar with the discussions. Trump said
in a news conference Friday that DACA was a “very difficult
subject” for him.
The ICE memo also states that immigrants will not be
afforded rights under U.S. privacy laws.
The second memo instructs CBP officers to crack down on
illegal migration at the border by holding migrants in detention
until a determination in their case is made.
The Department of Homeland Security did not deny any
information contained in the draft memos but did not provide
A source familiar with the guidance said the memos were
scheduled to be distributed on Friday but the White House made a
last-minute request to review them. It is not known whether the
White House may alter the guidance.
Kelly said in one of the memos that illegal immigration
across the U.S. border with Mexico had “created a significant
national security vulnerability to the United States.”
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