Homeland Security issues sweeping rules on immigrant deportations

The new rules also call for Customs and Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents to remove illegal immigrants they encounter - with a special emphasis on removing those who have committed additional crimes while in the US.

Undocumented immigrants arrested for traffic violations or shop-lifting will be targeted along with those convicted of more serious crimes, the BBC reports.

- Expanded expedited removal proceedings: The memos expands the use of "expedited removal" of any undocumented immigrant who can not prove "to the satisfaction of an immigration officer, that they have been continuously physically present in the United States for the two-year period".

President Trump followed through on his campaign promise to tighten border control by signing executive orders just days after taking office.

"It's Christmas in February", Stein said.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly "has unleashed an unprecedented witch hunt on millions of immigrant families", said Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) of Los Angeles, in a statement.

Around 11.0m immigrants in the United States are undocumented.

The DHS will need to publish a notice in the Federal Register subject to review in order to implement one part of the plan that calls on ICE agents to increase the number of immigrants who are not given a hearing before being deported.

One group appears to be spared for now. Immigration authorities "should take all necessary action and allocate all available resources to expand their detention capabilities and capacities", another related memo reads. While Obama limited them to people caught within 100 miles of the border and within two weeks of entry, they now will apply to people caught anywhere in the US within two years of arrival.

But, as VOX notes, "the massive immigration-enforcement "machine" the United States now will have almost free rein to arrest, detain and deport unauthorized immigrants wherever it finds them".

The new order is expected to include a travel ban from the same seven countries, but green card holders and dual citizens are expected to be specifically named as exemptions.

The new guidelines has sparked more fear and uncertainty in the immigrant community. The unions representing border patrol agents and officers have regularly denounced the use of military personnel. "But if success is measured by how many people you're deporting, yikes". "And they're tough and they're tough, but they're not tough like our people", he continued.

  • Archie Newman