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DHS Immigration Memos Explained

As you may know, two new memos were recently signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly implementing the President’s Executive Orders on immigration enforcement.

These memos address both border protection and the escalation of immigration enforcement and a crackdown on unauthorized immigrants, as promised by President Trump during his campaign.

We understand that the language in these memos is involved and we included some explanations of the most important details below provided by the American Immigration Council.

Please read through this information carefully and feel free to contact our Miami immigration lawyers with any further questions you may have.

What is in the memos?

1. An end to long-standing protections for children. DHS intends to strip many children arriving alone at our border of basic protections and to penalize their parents for seeking to reunite with their children in the United States. They will do this by narrowing the definition of “unaccompanied alien child” in order to limit those protections and by launching either civil or criminal enforcement against the parents.

2. A massive expansion of detention. The memos contemplate a massive expansion of detention, including a requirement that DHS officers detain nearly everyone they apprehend at or near the border. This detention space expansion—a boon to the private prison industry—means that more children, families and other vulnerable groups seeking protection in the United States will end up detained, at great financial and human cost.

3. Prosecution priorities and discretion are gone. The new memos rescind earlier policies on whom to prosecute and deport and whom to deprioritize because they pose no threat to our communities. The new enforcement priorities are extremely broad covering nearly all undocumented individuals in the United States. They even include individuals simply charged or suspected of having committed crimes.

4. 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.

5. 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.

While the feasibility of many of these policies depends on Congressional willingness to fund them and whether they pass muster in the courts, undeniably, these policies are thin on humanity and thick on punishment. They will separate families, cultivate fear among immigrant communities, and destabilize our economy.


“The deportation defense firm”

We understand that the changing immigration policies under this new presidential administration is instilling fear in our clients and many others who are unsure about the future of their immigration status. We want to make it clear that our immigration team is dedicated to defending the rights of those seeking a better life in this country and we will exhaust every avenue of defense to help you meet your immigration goals.

We will continue monitoring any new developments and keep you informed of any issues that could impact immigration laws and policies.

Please contact us for more information about the implementation of President Trump’s executive orders.

Antonio G. Revilla is a Former U.S. Immigration Prosecutor and a Miami immigration lawyer with over 25 years of legal experience. Schedule a free in-office consultation with Mr. Revilla today or a telephone consultation for a nominal fee.

Call (305) 858-2323 or toll free (877) 854-2323

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