Department of Homeland Security issued two memoranda implementing President Trump’s executive orders regarding border security and interior immigration enforcement. Here are some highlights and comments:
- The new immigration directives replace the previous enforcement policies under the Obama administration, except the policies regarding DACA and DAPA (for certain parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents). Notably, DHS stated that the DAPA policies “will be addressed in future guidance.” What this cryptic language means remains to be seen. The DAPA program is currently suspended by federal district order.
- The following are considered priorities for immigration enforcement: Foreign nationals who are deportable under immigration law because of certain crimes, national security risk, and fraud.
- Additional priorities for immigration enforcement include foreign nationals who:
(1) have been convicted of any crime, charged with any crime that has not been resolved, or committed criminal acts;
(2) have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in regard to any official matter involving a government agency;
(3) have abused any program related to public benefits;
(4) have a final order of deportation but have not left; or
(5) pose a risk to national security or public safety.
- DHS may apply the “expedited removal” process to foreign nationals encountered anywhere in the United States who have been present in the country for less than 2 years before apprehension. Expedited removal applies to individuals who enter without valid documentation or commit fraud upon entry. Under this process, an individual is deported immediately without the opportunity of seeing an immigration judge. DHS has normally applied this process to those foreign nationals encountered at the border or port of entry. The new policy, however, allows DHS to deport individuals through this expedited process from anywhere in the United States.
- DHS will be restricting the use of parole, a process by which a person is granted an entry permit for humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit. Granting parole for asylum matters remains intact. The memo instructs against granting parole to foreign nationals in “pre-designated” categories. Though the military PIP program was not specifically mentioned, the memo could potentially be applied to restrict or eliminate such programs.
- The memo proposes increased use of local and state law enforcement officers to perform immigration functions through agreements (also referred to as “287(g) programs”) with local and state agencies.