Reading these new guidelines from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly is a revelation. In fact, the new policy will be revolutionary if, as expected, most aspects of it are adopted.
Basically, the new policy, contained in memos from Secretary Kelly, repeals almost all Obama-era directives on the deportation of illegals and substitutes several reforms that are long overdue.
The new procedures would allow authorities to seek expedited deportation proceedings, currently limited to undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for two weeks or less, to anyone who has been in the country for up to two years.
Another new provision would be to immediately return Mexican immigrants who are apprehended at the border back home pending the outcomes of their deportation hearings, rather than house them on U.S. property, an effort that would save detention space and other resources.
The guidelines also aim to deter the arrival of a growing wave of 155,000 unaccompanied minors who have come from Mexico and Central America over the past three years. Under the new policies, their parents in the United States could be prosecuted if they are found to have paid smugglers to bring the children across the border.
“This memo is just breathtaking, the way they really are looking at every part of the entire system,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said in a statement that “due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation. The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country.”
“Cruelty”? To enforce existing law? Even open-borders advocates can’t really believe that.
As far as “common sense” is concerned, it’s a fact that more than 850,000 illegals have been given deportation orders and have disappeared off the federal government’s radar. By deporting them while not denying their due process rights, the government satisfies the requirements of the law while drastically curtailing the ability of illegals to avoid deportation.
The current “catch and release” policy only leads to hundreds of thousands of illegals failing to show up in court at all.
The memos don’t overturn one important directive from the Obama administration: a program called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals that has provided work permits to more than 750,000 immigrants who came to the country illegally as children.
Trump had promised during his campaign to “immediately terminate” the program, calling it an unconstitutional “executive amnesty,” but he has wavered since then. Last week, he said he would “show great heart” in determining the fate of that program.
The memos instruct agency chiefs to begin hiring 10,000 additional ICE agents and 5,000 more for the Border Patrol, which had been included in Trump’s executive actions.
Kelly also said the agency will try to expand partnerships with municipal law enforcement agencies that deputize local police to act as immigration officers for the purposes of enforcement.
The program, known as 287(g), was signed into law by the Clinton administration and grew markedly under President George W. Bush’s tenure. It fell out of favor under the Obama administration.
The Trump administration is still mulling what to do about DREAMers — children of illegal parents who have been in the U.S. for more than five years. Trump has suggested a cautious approach to the issue, which means that guidelines will be written at a later date.
These are reforms that are long overdue. They won’t stop the problem of illegal immigration, but it is hoped that swift deportation of those caught at the border will deter at least some illegals from crossing in the first place.