The Department of Homeland Security released broad changes to its deportation rules Tuesday. The changes will expedite deportations and broaden the scope of undocumented immigrants that will be prioritized for deportation by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Here are the four biggest changes, plus one big question about the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
No more 'catch-and-release'
Under previous rulings, undocumented immigrants could be paroled and housed while awaiting a ruling from immigration courts on whether or not they could stay. Those rulings could take years.
Under the new policy, undocumented immigrants will be detained or deported immediately. This will make it harder for asylum-seekers to plead their case, since they may have to show information that they're seeking asylum as soon as an ICE agent sees them.
The standard for seeking asylum now centers on proving a "credible fear" of persecution.
"The asylum officer shall make a positive credible fear finding only after the officer has considered all relevant evidence and determined, based on credible evidence, that the alien has a significant possibility of establishing eligibility for asylum," the memo reads.
This does not technically raise any standards for asylum, but implies it will be more difficult to meet the standards of a "credible fear."
More 'expedited' deportations
Past rules allowed for "expedited removal" for undocumented immigrants caught at the border and security risks. The new rules expand it to immigrants who cannot prove they have lived in the U.S. for two years. In 2004, that time limit was two weeks.
Teaming up with police
The new rule revives a policy from the Bush administration that allowed ICE agents to effectively deputize local law enforcement to help deport undocumented immigrants. As long as the departments meet "program requirements," they can be authorized to detain people for up to 48 hours after they're otherwise free to go.
We have an obligation to ensure that those who conspire to violate our immigration laws do not do so with impunity.
Crackdown on parental smuggling
Parents who smuggle their children into the U.S. can now be prosecuted.
What about 'Dreamers'?
Kids protected under the DACA program are clearly protected in one of the memos.
However, that memo also says, "except as specifically noted above," DHS "no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement." The disclaimer on DACA is "above" that statement in the memo.
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