President Donald Trump expanded immigration enforcement’s abilities to deport undocumented immigrants under a new policy released Tuesday.
The Department of Homeland Security released two memorandums to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection outlining Trump’s executive orders on immigration. The messages subjected more undocumented immigrants to deportation, stripped the Privacy Act’s provisions away from undocumented immigrants and directed additional agency hirings.
“The faithful execution of our immigration laws is best achieved by using all these statutory authorities to the greatest extent practicable,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly wrote in a memo. “Accordingly, department personnel shall make full use of these authorities.”
The messages, which strictly apply to DHS’ branches and do not create new laws, follow multiple Immigration and Customs Enforcement sweeps across the country within the past few weeks.
Kelly ordered ICE to deport anyone suspected of being undocumented or apprehended at the border. The agency may also deport any incarcerated undocumented immigrant, prioritizing those convicted of felonies or other serious offenses.
“Unless directed otherwise, Department personnel may initiate enforcement actions against removable aliens encountered during the performance of their official duties and should act consistently with the President’s enforcement priorities identified in his Executive Order,” Kelly wrote.
On Wednesday, Luis Videgaray Caso, the Mexican Foreign Minister who oversees foreign policy, said Mexico rejects the new orders.
“I want to make clear, in the most emphatic way, that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept measures that, in a unilateral way, one government wants to impose on another,” Videgary said. “The Mexican government will not hesitate in going to international organizations, starting with the United Nations, to defend human rights, liberties and due process for Mexicans abroad according to international law.”
Kelly also reinstated a program where local, state and federal law enforcement collaborate to enforce immigration law. The revived Secure Communities Program will replace the Obama administration’s Priority Enforcement Program.
“The Priority Enforcement Program failed to achieve its stated objectives, added an unnecessary layer of uncertainty for the Department’s personnel, and hampered the Department’s enforcement of immigration laws in the interior of the United States,” Kelly wrote.
Kelly said the old program will be used in the meantime before switching to the new program so detainments may continue.
Concerning investigations, the Privacy Act will no longer apply to undocumented immigrants, thereby throwing out a 2009 memorandum protecting personal information gathered by law enforcement about someone regardless of immigration status.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the administration’s goal is not executing mass deportations in a press conference on Tuesday.
“All this does is lay out the exact procedures to make sure that that subgroup of people who pose a threat to our nation because of a conviction or violation of public safety or have a criminal record are adjudicated first and foremost,” Spicer said.