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WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump’s
administration plans to consider almost all illegal immigrants
subject to deportation, but will leave protections in place for
immigrants known as “dreamers” who entered the country illegally
as children, according to official guidelines released on
The Department of Homeland Security guidance to immigration
agents is part of a broader plan for border security and
immigration enforcement in executive orders that Trump signed on
Former President Barack Obama issued an executive order in
2012 that protected 750,000 immigrants who had been brought into
the United States illegally by their parents. Trump has said the
issue is “very difficult” for him.
The Republican president campaigned on a pledge to get
tougher on the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the
United States, playing on fears of violent crime while promising
to build a wall on the border with Mexico and to stop potential
terrorists from entering the country.
DHS officials, speaking on a conference call with reporters,
said that although any immigrant in the country illegally could
be deported, the agency will prioritize those deemed as posing a
These include recent entrants, those convicted of a crime
and people charged but not convicted. Some details of the
guidelines were detailed in a draft memo seen on Saturday.
Many of the instructions will not be implemented immediately
because they depend on Congress, a public comment period or
negotiations with other nations, the officials said. Mexican
immigration officials immediately objected to part of the new
The guidance also calls for the hiring of 10,000 more U.S.
Immigration and Customs (ICE) agents and 5,000 more U.S. Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) agents.
The DHS will need to publish a notice in the Federal
Register subject to review in order to implement one part of the
plan that calls on ICE agents to increase the number of
immigrants who are not given a hearing before being deported.
The new rules would subject immigrants who cannot show they
have been in the country for more than two years to “expedited
removal.” Currently, only migrants apprehended near the border
who cannot show they have been in the country more than 14 days
are subject to rapid removal.
The memos also instructs ICE to detain migrants who are
awaiting a court decision on whether they will be deported or
granted relief, such as asylum. DHS officials said they are
reviewing what jurisdictions may have laws in place that prevent
the amount of time immigrants can be held.
The agency also plans to send non-Mexican migrants crossing
the southern U.S. border back into Mexico as they await a
decision on their case. The DHS officials said this plan would
be dependent on partnerships with the Mexican government and
would not be implemented overnight.
An official with Mexico’s immigration department said it is “impossible for the United States to send deported or
repatriated Central Americans to Mexico” because of existing
treaties between the United States and Mexico.
The guidelines were released a day before U.S. Secretary of
State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly
were due in Mexico City for talks with President Enrique Pena
Nieto and Mexican officials.
Trump’s planned measures against illegal immigrants have
drawn protests, such as an event last week that activists called “A Day Without Immigrants” to highlight the importance of the
foreign-born, who account for 13 percent of the U.S. population,
or more than 40 million naturalized American citizens.
(Additional reporting by Anahi Rama in Mexico city)
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