New Documents Reveal How Trump’s Deportation Plan Will Really Work

He said he wanted to remove 2-3 million people. This is the blueprint.

Charles Reed/US Immigration and Customs Enforcement via AP

In memos released to the media Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security detailed how it will implement President Donald Trump’s controversial executive orders on immigration, laying out a blueprint for how immigration and border agents can detain and deport vastly more undocumented immigrants.

The biggest shift from the Obama administration has to do with which undocumented immigrants are considered priorities for deportation. Under Obama, those who committed serious crimes were the main focus of immigration agents. The new memos instruct agents to remove any undocumented person with a criminal record, regardless of the offense.

Senior agency officials told reporters Tuesday that the directives would not affect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrrivals (DACA) program, which protects the young people known as Dreamers from deportation and provides them work permits.

The memos’ other notable policies include:

  • The expansion of expedited removal, which allows immigration officials to deport people more quickly. Under the Obama administration, this policy was used for immigrants who’d been in the country for less than two weeks and who’d been caught within 100 miles of the border. Under Trump, expedited removal is being expanded to include people who’ve been in the country for up to two years and who’ve been apprehended anywhere.
  • The return of the 287(g) program, which deputizes local police to act as de facto immigration agents. As The Marshall Project pointed out, the program led to the deportation of 175,000 immigrants from 2006 to 2013. It was later scaled back by the Obama administration.
  • The implementation of a deport-first, ask-questions-later policy that would send people caught crossing the US-Mexico border back “to the foreign territory from which they came” if they didn’t seem like they would try to once again enter illegally. ProPublica reports that the plan, meant as a partial solution to the huge backlog in US immigration courts, could also mean sending Central Americans to Mexico.
  • The hiring of 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.

Read the full memos, which were issued Monday and signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, here:




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