New Trump Memo Paves The Way For Mass Deportations

It's not just convicted criminals anymore

Feb 21, 2017 at 2:26 PM ET

The aggressive deportation plan President Donald Trump promised to enact looks like its coming to fruition — and it spans far beyond the undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes.

New memos released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security detail a crackdown that calls nearly all undocumented immigrants “priorities” for deportation. Whereas Trump had been ardent about removing the convicted criminals from America, the plans for implementation threaten a vast majority of the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States.

While the memo, obtained by several media outlets, emphasizes the deportation of criminal immigrants, it also targets people who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense,” which as Vox notes, generally applies to almost every undocumented person living in the United States today.

“Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom an immigration officers has probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws,” one memo reads.

Advocates were quick to attack the policy. “These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy,” wrote Omar Jadwat, the director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, in a statement. “However, President Trump does not have the last word here — the courts and the public will not allow this un-American dream to become reality.”

The executive order that Trump signed during his first week in office will also greatly increase the amount of federal and local resources to carry out these deportations. The document calls for hiring 5,000 additional immigration agents and will also give individual police departments the latitude to conduct immigration raids themselves, according to the memo signed Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Along the U.S.-Mexico border, the plan vows for more jails to process the potentially massive number of deportation candidates. Immigration authorities “should take all necessary action and allocate all available resources to expand their detention capabilities and capacities,” another related memo reads.

Those who are deported aren’t guaranteed to return to their country of origin. The order insists that undocumented immigrants are to be returned “to the territory from which they arrived,” meaning Central American immigrants crossing the border would actually be returned to Mexico until their court cases could be heard.

Immigration policy had been Trump’s a focal point of his campaign and now, unsurprisingly, his presidency. While these memos keep Barack Obama’s DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) intact — for now, the latest deportation plans will surely send a shock through America’s undocumented immigrant community.