In response to the Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements and Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States executive orders signed by President Trump on January 25, the Department of Homeland Security published two detailed implementation memos on Tuesday that call for greater enforcement of the country’s immigration laws.
Upon the release of Secretary John Kelly’s two memos, DHS also created a page in an effort “to be transparent with the American people, and to more effectively implement policies and practices that serve the national interest and protect the homeland.”
The first DHS memo, “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies,” is 13 pages long. Am embeddable copy is below:
In this memo, DHS said that Trump’s executive order is directing “executive departments and agencies to deploy all lawful means to secure the nation’s southern border with Mexico, to prevent further illegal immigration into the United States, and to repatriate illegal aliens swiftly, consistently, and humanely,” according to a DHS release.
The DHS release also added the following:
“This includes, among other provisions, establishing operational control of the border, establishing and controlling a physical barrier, detaining illegal aliens at or near the border, ending the practice of “catch and release,” and returning aliens to the territory from which they came pending formal proceedings.
This order also directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to hire an additional 5,000 border agents and to empower state and local law enforcement to support federal enforcement of immigration law, to the maximum extent permitted by law, and to ensure that prosecution guidelines place a high priority on crimes having a nexus to our southern border.”
DHS also said that this implementation memo “will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings, up to and including removal from the United States. The guidance makes clear, however, that ICE should prioritize several categories of removable aliens who have committed crimes, beginning with those convicted of a criminal offense.”
There is also a call to hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents, “as well as 500 Air & Marine agents and officers.” A release about the memo added that “President has directed the heads of all executive departments to identify and quantify all sources of direct and indirect federal aid or assistance to the government of Mexico” and that “DHS will identify all sources of aid for each of the last five fiscal years.”
Other details include an “expansion of the 287(g) program in the border region, “commissioning a comprehensive study of border security,” “constructing and funding a border wall” and “expanding expedited removal.”
In the area of expedited removal, DHS said this: “to date, expedited removal has been exercised only for aliens encountered within 100 air miles of the border and 14 days of entry, and aliens who arrived in the United States by sea other than at a port of entry. The Department will publish in the Federal Register a new Notice Designating Aliens Subject to Expedited Removal Under Section 235(b)(1)(a)(iii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act that expands the category of aliens subject to expedited removal to the extent the DHS Secretary determines is appropriate, and CBP and ICE are directed to conform the use of expedited removal procedures to the designations made in this notice upon its publication.”
DHS also said that it would enhance asylum referrals and credible fear determinations, and also, in their words, “establish standardized review procedures to confirm that alien children who are initially determined to be unaccompanied alien children continue to fall within the statutory definition when being considered for the legal protections afforded to such children as they go through the removal process.”
Another detail from this DHS memo called for “putting into place accountability measures to protect alien children from exploitation and prevent abuses of immigration laws.”
“The smuggling or trafficking of alien children into the United States puts those children at grave risk of violence and sexual exploitation,” DHS said in a release. “CBP and ICE will ensure the proper enforcement of our immigration laws against those who facilitate such smuggling or trafficking.”
The following video, dated February 20 and created by Tacoma-based immigration law firm Sound Immigration, explained the basics of the DHS memos, which were published in draft form last Saturday by The Washington Post.
The Second DHS Memo
The second DHS memo, “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest,” is six pages long. Here is an embeddable copy:
In a separate release about the second memo, DHS said that it would establish a Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office within ICE that would “create a programmatic liaison between ICE and the known victims of crimes committed by removable aliens. The liaison will facilitate engagement with the victims and their families to ensure, to the extent permitted by law, that they are provided with information about the offender, including the offender’s immigration status and custody status, and that their questions and concerns regarding immigration enforcement efforts are addressed.”
DHS also added that “it will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement. All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings, up to and including removal from the United States. The guidance makes clear, however, that ICE should prioritize several categories of removable aliens who have committed crimes, beginning with those convicted of a criminal offense.”
As for prosecutorial discretion, DHS stated that “unless otherwise directed, Department personnel may initiate enforcement actions against removable aliens encountered during the performance of their official duties. Department personnel should act consistently with the President’s enforcement priorities as identified in his executive order and any further guidance issued by the director of ICE, the commissioner of CBP, and the director of USCIS prioritizing the removal of particularly dangerous aliens, such as convicted felons, gang members, and drug traffickers.”
The memo also called to “hire 10,000 agents and officers, as well as additional mission support and legal staff necessary to support their activities.”
Furthermore, DHS said that “To promote transparency and make the public aware of the nature of the number of criminal aliens in the United States, the Secretary and the Attorney General will collect relevant data and provide quarterly reports on the immigration status of all aliens incarcerated under the supervision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons; the immigration status of all aliens incarcerated as federal pretrial detainees under the supervision of the U.S. Marshals Service; and the immigration status of all convicted aliens incarcerated in state prisons and local detention centers throughout the United States.”