(KMSP) - President Donald Trump significantly expanded the number of undocumented immigrants who face the possibility of deportation. The expansion was outlined in two memos released by the Department of Homeland Security.
Here are the key changes:
President Trump moved away from President Obama’s prioritization targeting undocumented immigrants convicted of significant crimes. Now, immigrants officials will target those convicted of any crimes, those charged with any crimes, those engaged in “fraud or willful misrepresentation,” immigrants who abused public-benefit programs, or who are judged to be a risk to public safety or national security by an immigration officer.
“The priorities for removal are so broad, it’s almost as if there aren’t priorities,” said Virgil Wiebe, who runs an immigration law clinic at the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis.
More undocumented immigrants will be deported with no due process, such as a court hearing, under a policy called “expedited removal.” President Obama applied it to those detained within a hundred miles of the southern border, and in the U.S. for under two weeks.
President Trump will apply expedited removal to undocumented immigrants detained anywhere in the U.S., and who have been in the country for under two years.
Immigrants arguing for asylum status, fearing persecution if deported, will face a higher standard.
“The question will be: will folks get a fair shake and an opportunity to apply for asylum if there is fear of persecution?” Wiebe asked.
The federal government will hire 10,000 new agents. However, it is unclear whether any additional judges will be hired to helping the already severely backlogged immigration courts.
The feds also plan to deputize more local police officers to enforce federal immigration laws. This is a controversial move opposed by many police department leaders who worry such a policy would discourage vulnerable members of the community from approaching officers for fear of deportation.