Two new memos grant both federal and local authorities unprecedented new powers in detaining and deporting undocumented immigrants.
The memos order Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to capture and immediately deport any undocumented immigrants that they may come across nationwide.
The memos also instruct officers to keep all immigrants detained in jail until a judge hears their cases — a break from traditional policy — and beef up the power that local police have to aid in these efforts.
Furthermore, these memos instruct the agencies to hire roughly 10,000 more immigration agents and direct them to start planning the construction of the border wall.
Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, an organization that calls for lower levels of immigration across the board, told USA Today that the memos embody the agenda for which his group has been lobbying for years.
“It’s Christmas in February,” Stein said. “What [Homeland Security Secretary John] Kelly has done is lay out a broad road map of regaining control of a process that’s spun out of control.”
However, organizations that advocate for immigrants were not as happy about what the new memos entail.
“These memos lay out a detailed blueprint for the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America,” Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice Educational Fund, an immigration advocacy group, told USA Today. “They fulfill the wish lists of the white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements and bring to life the worst of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric.”
Tramonte is referring to the fact that although Trump has recently stated that his anti-immigration policies will target undocumented immigrants with criminal histories, the DHS memos make all undocumented immigrants subject to the harsher rules.
For example, an expansion of the expedited removal policy now means that agents will be able to immediately deport any undocumented immigrant that has been in the country for less than two years. Under the Obama administration, on the other hand, the policy limited immediate deportations to any undocumented immigrant found within 100 miles of the border and in the country for less than two weeks.