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DHS Launches a New Immigration Plan

On February 21, 2017 the Department of Homeland Security outlined the Trump administration’s new plans for more aggressive immigration laws. Though this new plan strips away many of the protections afforded to undocumented immigrants under the Obama administration, it leaves the DACA program intact. DACA was an executive order under Obama which protected illegal migrants who were brought to the US as children by their parents. This gave people who were brought to America without a choice a path to obtaining legal status through the courts and enforcement of this program.

Despite the upholding DACA, the new DHS plan gives guidelines to state agencies on how to further conduct immigration enforcement. The plan gives an outline for increasing resources to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection, building a wall along the Mexican border and giving little leniency to illegal immigrants. However the plan also makes clear that the National Guard will not be deployed in order to target and gather illegal immigrants within the US. DHS officials also emphasized these policies were not expanding any current laws, but rather trying to execute Congressional laws with Presidential orders.

This new plan included deporting illegal immigrants who committed misdemeanors or minor crimes, such as DUI’s or document forgery. This was changed from the policy under the Obama administration where only serious and violent crimes would result in deportation. This increased jurisdiction to Immigration and Customs Enforcement lead to nearly 700 arrests nationwide in early February.

Additionally, this plan also makes it so that individuals must prove that he or she has been living in the US continuously for two years. If he or she fails to prove this they become eligible for expedited deportation, giving little time for court proceedings. Under the Obama administration expedited deportation only occurred if the person was found within 100 miles of the border and had come to the US in the past two weeks.

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