The Nuts and Bolts of the New Immigration Implementation Memos

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Editor’s Note: This article was first published on on 2/23/17  to provide information for families and others about the new immigration implementation memos under the Trump Administration.

Below are highlights from the 19 pages of two new U.S. Immigration Implementation Memos for “Protecting the Homeland” released by the Department of Homeland Security under Secretary John Kelly on Tuesday, February 21, 2017. If content is not in quotes, it may be paraphrased.

1. Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies

  • Catch-and-release shall end
  • Hire 5,000 more border patrol agents and 500 Air & Marine Agents/Officers (subject to resource availability)
  • Quantify aid sent to Mexico and report it annually
  • Turn local and state law enforcement officers into immigration officers under the current 287(g) program—authorizing arresting, detaining, conducting searches and transporting aliens.
  • Begin a comprehensive study of the southern border security
  • Begin allocating all available sources for building the wall as well as patrol and access roads and prepare Congressional budget requests for the current fiscal year and subsequent years.
  • No further hearings or reviews of incoming aliens apprehended at the border who are inadmissible under current immigration laws—except for unaccompanied alien children or those who can claim fear of persecution or torture upon return to their home country.
  • Apply expedited removal provisions in section 235(b)(1)(A)(i) and (ii) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to aliens who have not been admitted or paroled in the U.S. and who are inadmissible under section 212(a)(6)(c) or section 212(a)(7) of the INA, and who have not been residing in the U.S. for two years.
  • There are currently more than 534,000 cases pending on immigration court dockets nationwide.  The average removal cases for aliens not detained have been pending for more than two years before an immigration judge. To ensure prompt removal of aliens apprehended at the border crossing illegally, The Department will publish in the Federal Register a new Notice Designating Aliens Subject to Expedited Removal Under Section 235(b)(1)(a)(iii) of the INA, which may depart from the limitations set forth in the designation currently in force.
  • Make available video teleconference removal hearings for aliens so returned to the contiguous country.
  • Increase the number of asylum officers and Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate officers assigned to detention facilities located at or near the border with Mexico to efficiently adjudicate credible fear claims and to counter asylum-related fraud.
  • Temporary parole into the United States any alien who is an applicant for admission for urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.
  • Unaccompanied alien children (defined as (1) there is no parent or legal guardian in the U.S., or (2) no parent of legal guardian in the U.S. is available to provide care and physical custody) must be taken to the custody of the Office of Refugee Resettlement within the Department of Health and Human Services within 72 hours and granted special protections including access to social services, placement in a suitable care facility, removal proceedings before an immigration judge under section 240 of the INA, and initial adjudication of any asylum claim by USCIS.
  •  Develop uniform written guidance and training for all employees and contractors of those agencies regarding the proper processing of unaccompanied alien children, and, if appropriate, their safe repatriation at the conclusion of removal proceedings.
  • Removable aliens who directly or indirectly facilitate the trafficking of alien children into the U.S. will be placed into removal proceedings or referred for criminal prosecution.
  • Bolster ICE’s international partners to dismantle transnational criminal organizations.

    2. Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest

  • Leave intact the 6.15.12 memorandum “Exercising Prosecutorial Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children,” and the 11.20.14 memo “Exercising Prosecutorial  Discretion with Respect to Individuals Who Came to the United States as Children and with Respect to Certain Individuals Who Are the Parents of U.S. Citizens or Permanent Residents.”
  • Hire 10,000 more ICE officers and agents (subject to available resources)
  •  Prioritize removable aliens who: (1) have been convicted of any criminal offense; (2) have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved; (3) have committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense; (4) have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency; (5) have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; (6) are subject to a final order of removal but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the U.S.; or (7) in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
  • Effective immediately the Priority Enforcement Program is terminated and the Secure Communities Program shall be restored.
  • Establish a Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) Office that provides information to families who have been harmed by removable aliens
  • Director of ICE must reallocate funds used for advocacy services for illegal aliens (except as necessary to comply with a judicial order) to the new VOICE office, and to immediately terminate the provision of such outreach or advocacy services to illegal aliens.
  • Promulgate regulations, where required by law, to ensure the assessment and collection of all fines and penalties which the Department is authorized under the law to assess and collect from aliens and those who facilitate their unlawful presence.
  • DHS will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are not U.S citizens or lawful permanent residents.
  • Provide the public with free monthly reports/stats about aliens apprehended at the border and aliens apprehended by ICE.

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