A leaked memo signed by DHS Secretary John Kelly would radically change
the rules for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). These changes
will have major consequences for all undocumented immigrants who have
been in the US for less than two years. The memo would erase most of the
Obama administration’s guidance as to ICE priorities. ICE would
be permitted to use “expedited removals” for any undocumented
immigrant caught anywhere in the US. Expedited removal is a process that
bypasses the immigration courts and allows for immediate deportations.
Previously, ICE was instructed to use this procedure only if an individual
was caught within 100 miles of a border and within 14 days of entry. If
enforced, this memo will make it extremely difficult for individuals who
have been in the US for less than two years to see an immigration judge.
The memo notes that all undocumented individuals will be “prioritized”
for deportation. Specifically, an individual is at a higher risk if one
of the following factors apply:
- Criminal offense conviction
- Criminal offense charged, or simply committed, but not yet resolved
- Lying or concealing information on any government form
- Abuse of welfare or public benefits program
- Final order of removal issue
Additionally, ICE officers can use their discretion to deport any undocumented
immigrant they encounter without regards to the above factors.
For now, the DACA program is allowed continue, but the memo says that even
DACA recipients can be considered for deportation if they fall in to one
of the above categories.
Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) has also received new guidance. They are
ending the “catch and release“ program in which individuals
caught entering at the southern border were detained and released to later
appear before an immigration judge. Now individuals will be detained and
returned unless they pass a “credible fear” interview, which
could mean weeks of detention.
ICE will be hiring an additional 10,000 immigration officers and expanding
their 287g program. The 287g program is an agreement between ICE and the
local police to report any undocumented immigrants encountered during
If you, a family member, or a friend fall into any of these categories,
you need to prepare yourself to fight against deportation in the immigration