The memo significantly broadens border patrol and ICE’s ability to deport detained individuals immediately. Currently, expedited removal is permitted only for people who’ve been in the country 14 days or less. Under Kelly’s orders, that period would become two years.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has issued new orders to agency heads that considerably expand the number of immigrants who can be detained and deported under new executive orders President Donald Trump signed last month.
Under Kelly’s orders, which were contained in two memorandums distributed to agency heads on Friday, hundreds of thousands more immigrants in the United States illegally will be subject to what’s known as expedited removal proceedings to quickly get them out of the country.
The order also would affect thousands of children who arrived in the United States as “unaccompanied minors” and were subsequently reunited with a parent living in the country illegally. Those children would no longer be protected against deportation, and their parents would be subject to criminal prosecution if they had paid human traffickers to bring their children across the border – a common scenario now.
One of the memos said 155,000 unaccompanied children have been detained in the past three years, and that 60 percent of them are later reunited with a parent inside the United States.
“The surge of illegal immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly said in the memorandums, copies of which were made available to McClatchy Saturday.
Both memorandums bear Kelly’s signature and indicate they were distributed to the heads of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Citizenship and Immigration Services, among others. A DHS spokeswoman declined to confirm the authenticity of the memos, saying DHS does not confirm memos that have not yet been public. But she also did not dispute their authenticity.
The memos implement two of Trump’s executive orders on enforcement of immigration laws inside the United States, but they go farther by wiping away several orders President Barack Obama issued to protect those in the United States who had not committed criminal acts beyond entering the country without permission.
“These memorandums represent a significant attempt to expand the enforcement authority of the administration in areas that have been heavily litigated,” said Leon Fresco, who headed the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Immigration Litigation under Obama.
Fresco predicted quick backlash from immigrant groups in the courts and foresaw a large percentage of Kelly’s orders being enjoined by the courts shortly after they are implemented.