The US Department of Homeland Security issued two sweeping orders on Tuesday, placing the vast majority of 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country at risk of deportation.
The orders would also end the practice of allowing under trial immigrants to stay and working in the United States while awaiting trial.
“This implements new policies designed to stem illegal immigration and facilitate the detection, apprehension, detention, and removal of aliens who have no lawful basis to enter or remain in the United States,” wrote Secretary Homeland Security John Kelly in one of the two memos he signed on Tuesday.
On Jan 27, President Donald Trump signed an executive order that temporarily suspended all immigration and prevented visitors from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States. Since the previous order specifically mentioned a religious group, Muslims, it was suspended by the US judiciary.
The new orders overcame this problem by not mentioning the world ‘Muslim,’ focusing instead on stopping illegal immigration, a move that would be difficult to challenge in a court, as the US president has vast legal powers over immigration matters.
White House legal counsels are working separately on another executive order, rewriting the controversial travel ban and it would be issued separately later this week.
The orders issued on Tuesday seek to expand those parts of the Jan 27 order that are not linked to the travel ban and have already been sent to heads of law enforcement agencies across the country. The new guidelines vastly increase the resources to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, allow for building a wall along the US border and take a hard-line position on undocumented immigrants.
The guidelines vastly increase the number of individuals who can be deported using “expedited removal” procedures, without giving the immigrants the chance to seek legal assistance. Under the new policy, an immigrant, who can’t prove he or she has been living in the United States continuously for two years, would be eligible for expedited removal. Previously, this was limited to people apprehended within 100 miles of the border and who had arrived within the past two weeks.