The Trump administration issued memos on Monday that detail some ways that it will implement the executive orders the President signed earlier this year to increase deportations and restrict the flow of undocumented immigrants from entering the country.
The memos, which were issued by John Kelly, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), seek to prioritize undocumented individuals who have committed a crime; hire 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials; begin constructing the wall along the southern border of the country; detain undocumented immigrants until their hearing is concluded; and speed up the deportation process, among others.
Those who have been “convicted of any criminal offense”; “have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved”; “have committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense”; “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency”; or “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits,” among other criteria, will be prioritized for deportation, according to one of the two memos issued on Monday.
The memos also seek greater cooperation between federal and local enforcement officials to identify and deport undocumented individuals.
However, Gillian Christensen, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security, said on Tuesday that those protected under President Obama’s 2012 executive order Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) will remain protected as long as they follow the requirements of the newly issued guidelines and do not commit crimes.
The memos were met with outcry from immigration activists.
“These memos lay out a detailed blueprint for the mass deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants in America,” Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice Educational Fund, said. “They fulfill the wish lists of the white nationalist and anti-immigrant movements and bring to life the worst of Donald Trump’s campaign rhetoric.”
Meanwhile, Trump and his administration have said the guidelines were not meant to be for a “mass deportation.”
“We do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses. That’s entirely a figment of folks’ imagination,” the Washington Post quoted an anonymous official as saying. “This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations.”