NAICU Washington Update

Trump Administration Advances Immigration Directive

February 23, 2017

The Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelley, issued a memorandum implementing President Trump’s January 25, 2017 Executive Order on immigration.  Most notable in the order is the exemption of so-called DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) individuals and Dreamers (individuals who came to the United States as children) from new immigration enforcement mechanisms.  In addition, the memorandum leaves in place prior guidance on immigration enforcement in “sensitive locations,” including colleges and universities.

The details of the implementation plan include the immediate hiring of 10,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers and agents for the purpose of carrying out the task of identifying for deportation certain illegal aliens.  ICE is expected to focus this enforcement on those who have: 1) been convicted of any criminal offense; 2) been charged with an unresolved criminal offense; 3) committed acts that constitute a criminal offense; 4) engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation with any official matter before a government agency; 5) abused any public benefits program; 6) been determined by an immigration officer to be a risk to public safety or national security; or 7) are subject to a final order of deportation but have not left the U.S. 

The directive does not specifically target other populations of undocumented immigrants.  In addition, while the memorandum rescinds all previous immigration enforcement memos and guidance, which often contained conflicting information, the guidance regarding “sensitive location” enforcement remains in place.  This guidance states that immigration enforcement actions at locations such as schools, colleges and universities, places of worship, and hospitals should generally be avoided.  Such actions may only take place when (a) prior approval is obtained from a supervisory official, or (b) there are emergency circumstances (like public safety) that necessitate immediate action.

The White House is also expected to issue a similar directive on the previously announced seven-country travel ban in the near future.

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