Washington: The US government Tuesday issued a sweeping set of orders that implement President Donald Trump's plan to increase immigration enforcement, placing the nation's 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk of deportation.
"The Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement," the Department of Homeland Security said in an enforcement memo.
"Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws," it said.
The Department of Homeland Security has issued two enforcement memos, which among other things, tightens deportation of illegal immigrants.
The emphasis is on criminal aliens, though, but opens up the door for others too.
Indian-Americans, who as per an unofficial count account for nearly 3,00,000 illegal aliens are likely to be greatly impacted by this.
According to the memo, the DHS Secretary has the authority to apply expedited removal provisions to aliens who have not been admitted or paroled into the US, who are inadmissible, and who have not been continuously physically present in the US for the two-year period immediately prior to the determination of their inadmissibility, so that such aliens are immediately removed unless the alien is an unaccompanied minor, intends to apply for asylum or has a fear of persecution or torture in their home country, or claims to have lawful immigration status.
The memorandum said when illegal aliens apprehended do not pose a risk of a subsequent illegal entry, returning them to the foreign contiguous territory from which they arrived, pending the outcome of removal proceedings, saves the government detention and adjudication resources for other priority aliens.
"CBP and ICE personnel shall, to the extent lawful, appropriate and reasonably practicable, return such aliens to such territories pending their hearings," the memo said.
The Democrats were quick to oppose this.
"These guidelines are now the official policy of the Trump Administration, implementing the President's mass deportation Executive Orders," Senator Dick Durbin, the Democratic Senator from Illinois and Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration said.
In a statement, he called on his counterpart on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration, Chairman John Cornyn, to hold hearings on these orders.
"We need an immediate public examination in Congress of these heavy-handed, anti-family policies," he said.
Beth Werlin, executive director of American Immigration Council said the memos indicate that many people in the interior of the country – not just those at the border – could be subject to expedited deportation without going before a judge, the details of which DHS said will be forthcoming in a notice in the Federal Register.
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Updated Date: Feb 22, 2017 15:14:35 IST