The US dept. of Homeland Security released two memorandums on Monday, laying out details of a vast expansion of the federal government’s deportation priorities as the president pursues his promised crackdown on illegal immigration.  The new guidelines, issued by Homeland Secretary John F. Kelly, also call for the hiring of thousands more enforcement agents as the agency moves to implement President Trump’s recent executive order on immigration issued during his first week in office.

The Department emphasized on its website, “All of those in violation of immigration law may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”  The guidelines emphasize authorities should focus on convicted criminals and anyone who has been charged with a crime.  The Memos also direct for an increase in fast-track deportation of anyone who can’t prove immediately they have been in the United States the previous 2 years.  In comparison, the Obama administration took a far less aggressive approach toward undocumented immigrants who could demonstrate they were contributing members of society with strong US family ties and had no criminal records.  The memos did not clearly address how the Trump administration plans to deal with the roughly 750,000 “dreamers”, who came to the United States illegally as children.

Expedited Removals are also expanded in the recent memos which is of great concern to many undocumented individuals.  This allows someone here illegally to be deported without receiving much or any due process consideration such as being allowed to get a hearing in front of an immigration Judge.  These deportations have been expanded to include any individual caught anywhere in the country within two years of having arrived here illegally.  Under Obama, these types of removals were typically limited to those detained within 100 miles of the border.  Homeland Security also plans to expand a program in which local police help capture those violating immigration laws, while also establishing an office to assist those who are victims of crimes committed by individuals here illegally, according to the memos.

Lastly, the new guidelines call for the hiring of 10,000 more immigration enforcement officers and 5,000 Border Patrol agents, along with the immediate planning and building of a wall along the southern US-Mexico border.  Those steps would require additional funds from Congress, and thus far it is unclear whether lawmakers will sign off on them.

Now more then ever, it is important to understand your rights and the measures to take in the event you or a family member are detained.  With expanded Expedited Removal guidelines now in place, individuals can be deported in as little as 24 hours without the opportunity to appear before an immigration judge or to consult legal counsel.  North County Immigration is currently providing Deportation Protection Packets which will prevent our clients immediate removal and assist undocumented individuals to be fully prepared in the event they are detained.  Please call our office at 760-233-0800 if you or a family member would like to learn more about this service.