On January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order on immigration, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”. The general policy statement behind this order is that U.S. immigration laws “cannot be faithfully executed if we exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement.” Interestingly, without citing any evidence or providing any examples, this order notes that “many aliens who illegally enter the U.S. or overstay or violate the terms of their visas present a significant threat to national security and public safety.” Here is what is contained in the second executive order of President Trump on immigration:
1. New Enforcement Priorities for Deportations. President Trump has directed the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) to prioritize removal of noncitizens of those who can be found inadmissible or removable based on criminal, security, fraud/misrepresentation grounds. Strangely, President Trump does not actual rank the enforcement priorities, though they appear to constitute all undocumented immigrants in the U.S. However, it is notable that President Trump’s enforcement list includes those who “have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense” but have yet to be convicted!
2. Sanctuary Cities. President Trump has directed DHS and the Attorney General to ensure that “sanctuary jurisdictions,” which generally do not comply with federal requests to either detain or turn over to federal authority for possible deportation undocumented immigrants who have been arrested on charges unrelated to their immigration status, do not receive federal grants, unless necessary for law enforcement purposes.
3. Terminate “Priority Enforcement Program” and Reinstitute “Secure Communities” Program. President Trump has called for the immediate termination of the Priority Enforcement Program established to reflect President Obama’s enforcement priorities for the apprehension, detention and removal of aliens in the U.S. Instead, President Trump wants DHS to reinstitute the Secure Communities program, which requires local jurisdictions to share fingerprints of individuals who are arrested or booked into custody with the FBI to determine whether they are lawfully present in the U.S. or otherwise removable due to a criminal conviction.
4. Additional Enforcement and Removal Officers. President Trump has directed DHS to hire 10,000 additional Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) enforcement and removal officers to perform law enforcement functions. He also wants the Secretary of State to ensure that accepting the return of nationals ordered removed from the U.S. is a “condition precedent” in diplomatic negotiations with other countries.
5. Sanctions on Countries Unwilling to Accept Removed Aliens. President Trump has called to implement sanctions to ensure that no foreign government denies or unreasonably delays accepting its citizens or nationals which have been removed from the U.S. President Trump has also directed the Secretary of State to require accepting the return of nationals ordered removed from the U.S. is a “condition precedent” in diplomatic negotiations with other countries.
Please contact your Wolfsdorf Rosenthal LLP immigration attorney today if you have any questions on how President Trump’s new immigration policies may affect you or your immigration status.