President Trump signed two immigration related executive orders that are intended to follow through on campaign promises to build a wall and deport millions. The orders aimed at “Making America Great Again” seems to forget that America has been made great through the efforts of many immigrants.
The first Trump immigration executive order entitled, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the U.S.” introductory paragraph states, “Many aliens who illegally enter the United States and those who overstay or otherwise violate the terms of their visa present a significant threat to national security and public safety.” – An incorrect statement in my opinion as NOT all illegal aliens are criminals. The order gives the following directives and enforcement measures to be implemented immediately:
- Civil Penalties – to collect all penalties authorized to collect from “unlawfully present” noncitizens and “those who facilitate their presence” in the U.S.
- Hire 10,000 additional Enforcement & Removal Officers.
- Permit Department of Homeland Security to enter into agreements with states and localities police to perform immigration officer functions under INA §287(g) – so local police can investigate, apprehend, and detain aliens in the United States
- Sanctuary Jurisdictions – The attorney general and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) shall ensure that sanctuary jurisdictions are not eligible to receive Federal grants except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes. DHS has the authority to designate jurisdictions as “sanctuary jurisdictions.”
- Reinstitute Secure Communities Program (previously terminated by President Obama). Secure Communities is a deportation program that relies on partnership among federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies in sharing information regarding non-citizens.
- Implement sanctions against countries that “deny or delay” accepting return of their nationals who are ordered removed. Work to ensure that accepting the return of nationals ordered removed from the U.S. is a “condition precedent” in diplomatic negotiations with other countries.
- Prioritize for removal/deportation of noncitizens who:
- Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
- Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;
- Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
- Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a government agency;
- Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
- Are subject to a final order of removal, but have not departed; or
- Otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
The second Trump immigration executive order entitled, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements” introductory paragraph states, “Among those who illegally enter are those who seek to harm Americans through acts of terror or criminal conduct. Continued illegal immigration presents a clear and present danger to the interests of the United States.” – again in my opinion a blatant lie and exaggeration as those who seek to call America home are fleeing extreme poverty, war, disaster and not seeking to hurt America or Americans. The order gives the following directives and enforcement measures to be implemented immediately:
- Secure the Southern Border – Planning, designing, and constructing a wall. Allocating federal funds for the southern border wall. Projecting long-term funding for the southern border wall.
- Construct detention facilities at or near the southern border.
- Assign asylum officers to immigration detention facilities to conduct credible and reasonable fear interviews. Currently, delay in conducting these interviews is 2-3 years.
- Assign immigration judges to immigration detention facilities to conduct removal proceedings. Currently, most detention facilities do not have immigration judges or courtrooms in the detention facilities.
- Immediately take action to detain noncitizens apprehended “for violations of immigration law pending the outcome of their removal proceedings or their removal …to the extent permitted by law.”
- Termination of “catch and release” practice whereby aliens are routinely released in the U.S. shortly after apprehension either through bond or release on own recognizance.
- Hire 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents as soon as practicable. Currently, Custom and Border Protection is currently required to have 21,370 agents, but has been unable to meet this requirement.
- Ensure that the parole and asylum provisions “are not illegally exploited to prevent the removal of otherwise removable aliens.”
- Take action to apply “expedited removal” to the maximum extent permitted by statute: to any individual who has not been “admitted or paroled” who cannot prove she has been continuously present in the U.S. for the 2 years prior to being determined inadmissible.
There is no doubt that immigrants in the U.S. and other observers from outside the U.S. are in a state of panic and disbelief over Trump immigration executive order. It is important to remember that although these are executive orders by a President, the orders can be litigated (as was President Obama’s 2012 executive order on immigration) and the Judge may place a stay on the order preventing its implementation. Lastly, many of these directives require funding or money and Mr. Trump has placed a halt on all federal spending. So, without any funds or money, many of these directives cannot be implemented as it will take additional staff to carry out these additional job duties.
For now, I think the most prevalent threat is reinstituting the 287(g) program where local police can function as immigration officers and terminating the catch and release program. In the coming months, we will see more individuals detained and costing taxpayers money rather than being released on the alternative to detention programs. Lastly, there has been no directives to officers as to how to implement many of these programs so procedures still have to be drafted and put in place – this can take years.
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