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5-min read

US Unveils Sweeping Plan to Deport 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants

The US government on Wednesday issued a sweeping set of orders that implement President Donald Trump's plan to increase immigration enforcement, placing the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.

Press Trust Of India

Updated:February 22, 2017, 8:59 AM IST
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US Unveils Sweeping Plan to Deport 11 Million Undocumented Immigrants
US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers detain a suspect as they conduct a targeted enforcement operation in Los Angeles, California. (Image: Reuters)

Washington: The US government on Wednesday issued a sweeping set of orders that implement President Donald Trump's plan to increase immigration enforcement, placing the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.

"The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. The department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws," the Department of Homeland Security said in an enforcement memo.

The Department of Homeland Security has issued two enforcement memos, which among other things, tightens deportation of illegal immigrants.

The emphasis is on criminal aliens, though, but opens up the door for others too.

Indian-Americans, who as per an unofficial count account for nearly 300,000 illegal aliens are likely to be greatly impacted by this.

According to the memo, the DHS Secretary has the authority to apply expedited removal provisions to aliens who have not been admitted or paroled into the US, who are inadmissible, and who have not been continuously physically present in the US for the two-year period immediately prior to the determination of their inadmissibility, so that such aliens are immediately removed unless the alien is an unaccompanied minor, intends to apply for asylum or has a fear of persecution or torture in their home country, or claims to have lawful immigration status.

The memorandum said when illegal aliens apprehended do not pose a risk of a subsequent illegal entry, returning them to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived, pending the outcome of removal proceedings, saves the government detention and adjudication resources for other priority aliens.

"CBP and ICE personnel shall, to the extent lawful, appropriate and reasonably practicable, return such aliens to such territories pending their hearings," the memo said.

The Democrats were quick to oppose this.

"These guidelines are now the official policy of the Trump Administration, implementing the President's mass deportation Executive Orders," Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic Senator from Illinois and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration said.

In a statement, he called on his counterpart on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Chairman John Cornyn, to hold hearings on these orders.

"We need an immediate public examination in Congress of these heavy-handed, anti-family policies," he said.

Beth Werlin, executive director of American Immigration Council said 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.

Asserting that anyone who is living in the country illegally are subject to be removed, the White House ALSO said that illegal immigrants who pose a threat to the nation's security - like the criminals - are top on the list of priority to be deported.

"People who pose a threat to the country are immediately dealt with. There are about a million such people in the country now. President is consistent with his priorities. When you have 13-14 million people living in the country illegally, then you needs to be a priority. Anyone who is living in the country illegally is subject to removal illegally," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference.

Spicer was responding to question after the Department of Homeland Security issued two memorandums to implement the executive orders of the US President on immigration. According to him, there are about 14-15 million illegal immigrants in the country of which one million pose a threat to the safety and security of the country.

"The number one priority when you look at the scope of how many people are in the country illegally, the number one priority is making sure that people who pose a threat to this country are immediately dealt with," he said, adding that this is not a small group of people.

"We are talking close to a million people who have already been adjudicated, and their status processed through a formal due process system. So what we need to do now is to make sure that we focus the resources and the efforts of those people going first and foremost. The fact sheet and the information we put out lay that out very, very clearly what is being done," Spicer said.

But for so long, the people at Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Customs and Border Police "had their hands cuffed behind them," he rued and blamed the previous Obama Administration on that.

"But, right now, what we've done is to make sure that they have the ability and the guidance and the resources to do what they - what their mission is, and that's it, plain and simple. And the president is consistent with his priority of making sure that those people who pose a threat to this country are the first ones to go," Spicer said.

One of the memos, he said outlines the steps that Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take to secure the nations southern border, prevent further illegal immigration and repatriate illegal immigrants swiftly, consistently and humanely.

"This includes immediately identifying and allocating all sources of available funding for the planning, design, construction, and maintenance of a wall along our southern border and hiring of additional personnel including 5,000 additional CBP border agents," he said.

The memo regarding the executive order enhancing public safety in the interior of the United States outlines several practices and policies in order to strengthen the efficient and faithful execution of this country's immigration laws. That includes hiring more ICE agents and officers, as well as additional mission support and legal staff necessary to support their activities, he added.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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