Homeland Security Puts Trump’s Call for Massive “Expedited” Deportations Into Effect
Updated February 27, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
On February 21, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly formally released two memos containing guidelines that unleash ICE and Border Patrol agents to target all undocumented immigrants in this country for deportation. The article that follows was written and posted yesterday, based on two “leaked” versions of the memos. The memos made public are identical to those leaked memos.
Two memos were just “leaked” to the Washington Post—signed by the Director of Homeland Security, former Marine General John Kelly—which direct ICE and Border Patrol agents how they are to carry out the Trump regime’s orders to gear up the machinery for mass deportations. The new guidelines speed up deportations and widen the scope of who is to be targeted for roundups. They greatly increase the number of immigrants whose deportations can be “expedited.” And in a glimpse of how massive are the roundups and deportations that the regime is planning, the directives call for adding ten thousand more ICE agents and 5,000 Border Patrol agents.
Neither memo—one focused on the border, the other on the interior of the country—includes a call to deploy as many as 100,000 National Guard troops as immigration agents, as the draft memo leaked two days ago did. But they do call for the full return of the “Secure Communities” program, which will give the government thousands and thousands more ‘boots on the ground’ in city after city by enlisting state and local police around the country as immigration agents.
These directives are still drafts, according to government officials, being reviewed by White House counsel before final approval—but they have Kelly’s signature approving them.
Every Cop to Become an Immigration Officer
These memos do not eliminate DACA—the Obama-era program that temporarily deferred deportation for those who came to this country without documents when they were very young, and that grants them temporary work permits. But they sweep aside all of the other immigration guidelines that had previously been in effect. There are no other categories of undocumented immigrants that are protected from arrest and deportation. Everyone who is in this country without documentation, regardless of their circumstances, has to fear having their whole life torn apart at any time.
One memo notes there are currently 32 law enforcement agencies in 16 states participating in their 287(g) program—known as “Secure Communities.” It’s described as a “highly successful force multiplier that allows a qualified state or local law enforcement officer to be designated as an ‘immigration officer’ for purposes of enforcing federal immigration law.” The DHS goal is to expand the program “to the greatest degree practicable.” That means that, if you’re one of the millions and millions who are undocumented in this country, and particularly if you are one of the millions who have any minor record (even a traffic violation), you are going to be living under police-state conditions. It means that every time a cop sees you, you can be stopped based on the cop claiming there is “probable cause” because of the way you look, or act, or speak, or are dressed, in some way that makes you “suspicious”—and the police can demand to see your “papers.” This really is criminal and immoral—fascist—and now will be the law of the land. It is going to make the lives of millions of immigrants in this country a constant horror.
Trump and Kelly Agree: No “Due Process” for Immigrants
One of the memos focuses on “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies.” It begins: “The President has determined that the lawful detention of aliens arriving in the United States… is the most efficient means by which to enforce the immigration laws at our borders.” What Trump really means by “the most efficient means” is that he intends to end due process for immigrants. Border Patrol and ICE agents have been clamoring for an end to having to release from detention immigrants who “don’t belong here” while they await their case being heard in court—what they call “Catch and Release.” This is a major focus of their directives.
The memo complains that the courts are backlogged with immigration cases. So they call for “the establishment and deployment of a joint plan with the Department of Justice to surge the deployment of immigration judges and asylum officers” to speed up deportation and deal with asylum claims.
Along with their “surge,” they are also going to expand tremendously what’s called “expedited removal,” or deportation without a hearing before an immigration judge. Until now, the application of expedited removal had been limited in practice to those who couldn’t prove they’d lived in the U.S. continuously for 14 days. The new guidelines now allow expedited removal for anyone who is believed to be undocumented who cannot prove they’ve lived in this country continuously for two years. In addition, Mexican immigrants who are captured near the border are now going to be forced to return to Mexico before their deportation hearing. And instead of being able to attend their hearing, there is going to be a set up where their appearance will be videoed from Mexico.
Finally, the authors of the memo complain that over 155,000 unaccompanied minors have come to this country from Central America seeking asylum in the past three years. For any human being with a conscience, this is a horrific statement about what U.S. imperialism has done to these countries that forced these children and their families to take such tremendous risks. But for the fascists with their hands on the levers of power, what upsets them is that 60 percent of these youth have undocumented parents in this country who they can stay with while they await their asylum claim. So, after discussing the fact that many of the parents have to “pay smugglers several thousand dollars to bring their children into this country,” the authors of the memo conclude that these parents can and should be arrested for facilitating the crime of smuggling alien children into the U.S.
In a statement quoted by the Washington Post, Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union, said: “Due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation. The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country.”
This fascist regime has a program and a plan that it is implementing. It is committing crimes on top of crimes. It must be driven out.
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