ICE Head Directs Officers to Enforce Against All Undocumented Immigrants Whom They Encounter

ICE Head Directs Officers to Enforce Against All Undocumented Immigrants Whom They Encounter

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) official who heads up the Enforcement and Removal Operations unit of ICE recently issued a memo giving specific guidance to ICE officers about immigration enforcement policy. The memo directs all 5,700 ICE officers to enforce immigration laws against any immigrants without legal status whom they encounter in the course of their official duties, regardless of their criminal history. The content of this instruction runs directly counter to the Trump administration’s previous claims that it would focus immigration enforcement on immigrants with criminal histories or those who present a threat to public safety. Not so long ago, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly publicly emphasized that although the federal government intended to increase the enforcement of immigration laws, their priority was to deport those immigrants who present a public threat. Kelly also had issued guidance to ICE, just one day prior to the memo referenced above, stating that ICE officers “may” take enforcement actions against any undocumented immigrant whom they discovered. Nonetheless, the Trump administration insists that the new memo is consistent with agency policy on immigration enforcement; a spokesperson for the administration pointed out that while deportation of criminals remained a priority of the federal government, no group of immigrants with no legal status were exempt from the enforcement and deportation process. As a practical matter, ICE officers seems to be taking this guidance to heart, as there have been numerous reports across the country of immigrants with no criminal backgrounds being detained and placed in deportation proceedings. Additionally, Congress has historically used its annual spending bill to order DHS to prioritize the removal of criminals, but that language was conveniently absent from this year’s spending bill. Some speculate that the absence of this language has helped pave the way for broader enforcement of immigration laws by DHS. As ICE is now targeting all undocumented immigrants, it is quite possible that someone close to you may be arrested by ICE. If ICE has detained a loved one, contacting an experienced California immigration attorney as quickly as possible can be essential to securing his or her release and fighting deportation. Taking steps to fix an immigration problem from the outset is often much simpler than waiting until the last minute and attempting to remedy the situation. Call Landerholm Immigration, A.P.C., at (510) 756-4468 today, and learn what we can do to help you through this situation.
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