President Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday started fleshing out its crackdown on undocumented immigrants and its plan to build a wall along the border with Mexico, releasing guidelines and rules that aim to fast track those campaign pledges.
In memos circulated Tuesday morning, the administration says it will prioritize removing undocumented immigrants who are charged with a crime or in the country’s jails, but also undocumented immigrants who have “abused” public benefits, misrepresented themselves or “in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.” The memo gives few specifics on each of these criteria will be determined.
“The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” the administration says, explaining its rationale.
In the memos, the administration also makes clear that driving without a license, a frequent offense for undocumented immigrants, are “subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
The memos say DHS will hire 10,000 new immigration officers and reverse a number of Obama administration policies. Specifics on how the agency will hire so many officers remain scarce, with the administration saying they are working on a “hiring plan.”
“Except as specifically noted above, the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” the memo says. It adds: “The Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents.”
The memos say the president is directing all agencies to discern how much funding Mexico gets from the United States, in an apparent bid to force the country to pay for the wall. And they give some specifics on a new border wall that the president has promised in an executive order.
“As noted above, initial construction of new infrastructure will focus on locations near El Paso, Texas, El Centro, California, and in Southern Arizona,” the memo says. The agency, without offering proof, says it has identified the money to begin constructing the wall.
The agency says it will work with local law enforcement agencies across the country to begin removing “illegal aliens” through the 287-g program, which allows local and state officials to detain illegal immigrants.
“Although detention space may be limited at times, ICE is committed to arresting and processing all removable aliens,” the memo says.
The memos also say the administration will limit parole into the United States, to only be used “sparingly and only in cases where, after careful consideration of the circumstances, parole is needed because of demonstrated urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”