In a motion indicating a substantial shift in existing immigration policy, the Department of Homeland Security has submitted for approval a set of proposals intended to expand federal power to expel illegal immigrants from the U.S.
The proposals were approved and signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly on Saturday.
“The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly is said to have written in a memo.
Under the new immigration model, two federal law-enforcement agencies tasked with executing immigration law, ICE and Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), will see manpower increased. It is expected as many as 10,000 will be added to ICE and an additional 5,000 hired for CBP.
Corresponding to the increase of agents to enforce new policy, the plan also calls on local police departments to aid federal immigration and border agents with the arrest of illegal immigrants.
Similarly, the new plan calls for the most important consideration for deportation to be those with criminal records, those involved with fraud in front of a government agency, misuse of public aid and those who have received prior notice to leave the U.S.
The new strategy to clamp down on illegal immigrants does, however, come with a caveat: The new measure embraces the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows young people who entered illegally to remain and work with legal work permits.
Referring to his immigration plans at a White House press conference last week, President Trump indicated support for the protocol.
In one interrelated matter, the new proposal comprises an order from Kelly to the CBP to make preparations for President Trump’s much-touted border wall with Mexico.
Within the broad new proposals, Kelly has instructed the agency to “immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall.” The directive encompasses plans for the wall and all necessary features such as lighting, electronic monitoring and roads needed to maintain it.
[AP] [The Hill] [Photo courtesy Getty Images via U.S. News & World Report]