21 Feb Leaked DHS Memos on Immigration Enforcement
By Atty. Crispin Caday Lozano
On February 18, 2017, the Washington Post obtained two leaked memos signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly implementing the President’s Executive Orders on immigration enforcement. These memos direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to drastically escalate harsh immigration enforcement nationwide.
What is in the memos?
- The Memorandum calls for a massive expansion in detention by requiring DHS to detain nearly everyone it apprehends including those with no criminal convictions, until they:
- are removed from the United States;
- are required to be released by statute or because of a binding settlement agreement or judicial order;
- become a U.S. citizen or hold other valid immigration status;
- are around found to have a credible fear of persecution by an asylum officer or IJ and agree to comply with any conditions imposed by ICE upon release; or
- are paroled into the United States.
- The Memorandum states that “effective immediately,” DHS shall faithfully execute U.S. immigration laws against “all removable aliens” and will no longer “exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.” The priorities in the Memorandum track those that are articulated in the Executive Order. It lists individuals described as:(To understand their meaning, Inadmissible aliens are those applying for admission, outside or inside the U.S., and those already issued a visa but are removable from the U.S. On the other hand, Deportable aliens are those already issued visa and inside the U.S., but because of certain acts are removable from the U.S.)
- Aliens who are inadmissible for having committed crimes as stated in INA 212(a)(2),
- Aliens who are inadmissible for security and related grounds under INA 212(a)(3) and
- Aliens who are inadmissible for having committed fraud, and material misrepresentation with government agency under INA 212(a)(6)(C),
- Expedited removal (meaning no court hearing) of inadmissible “arriving aliens” and other noncitizens apprehended in the interior U.S. ,under INA 235(b)
- Expedited removal (no court hearing) based on security and related grounds under INA 235(c) and
- Aliens who are deportable or removable for criminal grounds of removal under INA 237(a)(2).
- Aliens who are deportable or removable for security and related grounds of removal under INA 237(a)(4), as well as
- “removable aliens” who:
- Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
- Have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
- Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
- Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a government agency;
- Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
- Are subject to a final order of removal, but have not departed; or
- Otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
“Committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” is an exceptionally broad phrase and includes minor infractions such as jaywalking or driving without a license. Moreover, this phrase can be applied to all undocumented individuals under the presumption that they committed the chargeable offense of improper entry. The priorities do not make an exception for anyone who was once charged with a criminal offense but has since been acquitted of all charges. The Memorandum does not explain how “abuse” related to public benefits will be interpreted.
- Creation of a deportation force. The memos order the hiring of 5,000 additional Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents and 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents. They direct a massive expansion of 287(g)—a law that allows DHS to deputize state and local law enforcement officers to perform the functions of immigration agents. And, they reinstate Secure Communities and terminate the Priority Enforcement Program, which expand the ways in which local police collaborate with ICE.
- Plans to bypass immigration courts and short-circuit due process. The memos indicate that many people in the interior of the country – not just those at the border – could be subject to expedited deportation without going before a judge, the details of which DHS said will be forthcoming in a notice in the Federal Register. This expansion of “expedited removal,” will allow the government to bypass the backlogged immigration courts in order to deport people rapidly and with little-to-no due process.
We at our Law Firm will continue to monitor this Administration’s every move and protect and fight for our clients due process rights. We believe that immigrants contributed a lot to the United States of America.
If you have immigration problems the Law Offices of Crispin C. Lozano can help you find a solution before your problem gets worse which could lead to deportation and family separation.