Trump Immigration Orders Represent A Major Shift In US Policy

Over the weekend I posted on a couple of draft memos working their way through the staffing process that would represent a major shift in how immigration laws are enforced. Those memos have finally been released and we know the details. This is how it shapes up:


Basically all illegals are now vulnerable to deportation. I know this will come as a shock to a lot of people who bought into the meme of Obama as “Deporter in Chief,” but under Obama unless you were a convicted felon or a known gang member your chances of being deported approached zero.

In 2014, the Obama administration issued guidelines for deporting unauthorized immigrants that placed the highest priority on gang members, felons and those who posed security threats…

Under the new directives, the government “no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.” Immigration agents can now focus on picking up and removing anyone charged with or convicted of any criminal offense, even minor ones, as well as anyone already ordered deported, regardless of whether they have a criminal record.

“Catch and release” is dead. Under Obama an illegal caught entering the United States was given a summons to appear for a deportation hearing when called and then released inside the United States. I can’t find data showing how many people reported for their hearing but I think we can all guess. That policy is dead.

The Trump administration has declared an end to the so-called catch and release policy, though it may take awhile to see any significant change. “Catch and release” came about in part because the government had nowhere to hold detainees waiting for immigration decisions. One of the memos released on Tuesday directs officials to expand detention facilities, but it will take time to build centers big enough, or find enough room in jails, to hold the thousands of Mexican and Central American asylum seekers expected to cross the border this year.


The memos say that illegal OTMs, that is, Other Than Mexicans, will be sent back into Mexico. It remains to see how Mexico deals with this as it has historically refused to allow OTMs back in once they’ve crossed the border because, from Mexico’s point of view, they are illegals.

The “expedited removal” process will be used.

Two decades ago, Congress passed a law allowing the government to quickly deport undocumented immigrants who have not been in the United States very long, without allowing them go before a judge.

In practice, the government has used this process, called “expedited removal,” relatively narrowly because of concerns about whether it violates constitutional rights of due process that are granted to anyone in the United States, regardless of immigration status. Since 2002, expedited removal has been applied only to immigrants who have been in the country less than two weeks and were caught within 100 miles of the border. That is because the Supreme Court has held that such immigrants can still be considered “in transit” and not here long enough to qualify for due process protections.

The Trump administration is now planning to use expedited removal as extensively as the original law allows, saying that limits on its use had contributed to a backlog of more than half a million cases in immigration court.


Children traveling alone will still get a deportation hearing but things can get ugly for their parents or guardians:

But the memo turns a sterner face to their parents, who, under the new policy, may be subject to deportation or even prosecution for enabling their children to come into the country.

The memo notes that parents and relatives often pay smugglers several thousand dollars to bring their children from Central America, an act that the memo says amounts to facilitating illegal smuggling or trafficking.

DREAMEers are safe for the time being. This is a problem that will not go away until Congress decides how to act. I’m okay with them being given a path to citizenship provided there are safeguards to keep the policy from being milked. I am also fine with putting them on the next plane out. What I’m not fine with is the making of immigration law by executive order.

The 287(g) program is going to be re-invigorated.

A program known as 287(g), named for its section of the Immigration and Nationality Act, allows the Department of Homeland Security to train local and state law enforcement officers to work as de facto federal immigration officers, identifying undocumented immigrants in their communities and jails and turning them over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The Obama administration curtailed the use of the program, which currently involves 32 agencies in 16 states. The Trump administration wants more agencies to take part, and some have already expressed a desire to do so.


Naming and shaming are now in.

The administration is trying to significantly expand the amount of information available on the enforcement of immigration laws and, in particular, unauthorized immigrants who commit crimes. Immigration and Customs Enforcement will establish a new office to work with the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, some of whom appeared with Mr. Trump on the campaign trail.

The office, known as Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement, or Voice, will provide victims with information about defendants’ immigration status and whether they are in jail. Significantly, funding for the office comes from reallocating “any and all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal aliens” by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

ICE will now have to provide monthly public reports on its apprehensions and releases. The agency also has to publish a weekly report about state and local authorities that release undocumented immigrants from jails. That is a clear shot across the bow at so-called sanctuary cities that limit their cooperation with federal immigration authorities, contending that turning in unauthorized immigrants would destroy the fragile relationship that the police have with immigrant communities.

The administration is setting out to build a fact case for tougher immigration enforcement.


In January 2009, the departing Bush administration extended some Privacy Act rights, which American citizens and legal permanent residents already had, to undocumented immigrants. That meant that information obtained by one agency, like the Internal Revenue Service or Citizenship and Immigration Services, could not generally be shared with other agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement. One rationale for the move was to protect the personal information of immigrants who might one day become citizens covered by the Privacy Act.

The Trump administration has now rescinded those privacy protections. One of the memos released on Tuesday said that those protections had been detrimental to the families of the victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants, because those families could not get information about such defendants’ legal status, or whether they had been deported, leaving victims “feeling marginalized and without a voice.”

The Department of Homeland Security said it would develop new rules on the sharing of undocumented immigrants’ private information. But advocates for unauthorized immigrants said they feared that immigrants who had applied for legal status — in the process divulging they were not here legally — were now in danger of having that information used to deport them.


The real take away here is that Trump’s orders do nothing more than tell DHS to enforce the laws as written. It shows just how futile the legislative process is when it is being assaulted by an unholy alliance of an administration that sees illegals as a pool of Democrat voters and business interests that rely upon cheap labor.


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