Trump Issues Executive Orders on Immigration

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On January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump signed two Executive Orders, entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” and “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.”

The Executive Orders identify individuals who have entered the United States without inspection or admission as a significant threat to national security and public safety.

The Executive Orders contain directives to the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to prioritize essentially every individual in the United States without documentation for removal from the United States, to increase the number of detention facilities along our southern border, and to detain individuals who have been apprehended by immigration or placed in removal proceedings. The Executive Orders also direct cooperation between state and local law enforcement and federal immigration authorities, and threaten local jurisdictions with reductions in federal grant monies if they refuse to comply.

The Executive Orders are alarming, and we will certainly see legal challenges to many of the provisions contained in these orders as violations of due process rights, civil liberties and state’s rights.

Additional Executive Orders are expected in the upcoming days that address refugee admissions and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) programs.

We will follow up with information on additional orders as well as detailed analyses of the various provisions and their impact on our clients, their families, and all Americans in the days to come.

In the meantime, please be sure that you Know Your Rights.

Summary of Executive Actions on Immigration Interior Enforcement and Border Security:

1) Expansion of Expedited Removal procedures. The President directs the DHS Secretary to use the “process of expedited removal” under INA § 235(b) to aliens who cannot affirmatively show that they have been continuously physically present in the United States for two years prior to the date of their apprehension.  Expedited Removal applies to “arriving aliens” and the process subjects these individuals to removal from the United States without their right to a hearing in front of an Immigration Judge. Under current policy, Expedited Removal is only utilized for individuals apprehended within 100 miles of the border. The Executive Order appears to expand the use of Expedited Removal nationwide, thus potentially putting any individual suspected of being an “arriving alien,” at risk of detention and removal if they cannot affirmatively demonstrate their continuous physical presence in the United States for the past two (2) years.

2) Identifies individuals who are “priority” for removal. The President identifies individuals that are priorities for removal as those who are removable under the criminal, security, and fraud grounds of inadmissibility and removability under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or Act). The President also identifies other priorities for removal, including non-citizens who (a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense; (b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved; (c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense; (d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency; (e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; (f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or (g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.

3) Expanded use of detention for individuals apprehended for immigration law violations. The President directs the DHS Secretary to immediately take appropriate action to ensure the detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law while their removal proceedings are pending. The President also directs the DHS Secretary to issue new guidelines “regarding the appropriate and consistent use of lawful detention authority” and directs the Secretary to terminate the so-called “catch and release” program, a practice that was ended in 2006.

4) Expansion of immigration detention facilities. The President directs the DHS Secretary to expand detention facilities along and near the southern border. The President also directs the Secretary to assign all available asylum officers to the detention facilities in order to quickly process individuals’ credible fear interviews and asylum claims, and he directs the Attorney General to allocate Immigration Judges to the immigration detention facilities to adjudicate cases for those detained.

5) Exemption from Privacy Act protections. The President directs agencies to exclude individuals who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents from the protections of the Privacy Act regarding personally identifiable information.

6) Additional Border Patrol (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agents. The President directs the hiring of 5,000 additional border patrol and 10,000 ICE agents, subject to available funds.

7) Reinstates the “Secure Communities Program.” Under this program, the federal government enters into agreements under INA § 287(g), that authorizes local law enforcement officials to perform the functions of immigration enforcement officers local law enforcement agencies can enter into agreements with the Federal government to act as immigration enforcement in relation to the apprehension, detention and detention of undocumented individuals in the United States.

8) Sanctuary Cities. the President gives DHS the authority to designate cities and municipalities as “sanctuary jurisdictions” and attempt to limit Federal grants for jurisdictions identified as “sanctuary cities.”

9) Border Wall. The President orders the DHS Secretary to plan, design and construct a physical wall along the southern border. The Secretary is directed to allocate U.S. Federal Funds for the wall, including requests to Congress for the current and upcoming fiscal years to erect the wall. The President also requests a report on all direct and indirect Federal aid that is currently provided to Mexico. Thus, it appears that the President is considering using aid funds currently provided to our southern neighbor that could be used for funding of the wall.

10) Creates an Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens.

For more information on the Trump’s Executive Orders or other immigration matters, please contact us at Kolko & Associates, P.C.

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Kolko & Associates is a full service immigration and naturalization law firm providing professional legal services to individuals and businesses throughout Colorado, the Rocky Mountain West, the United States, and the World. Our professional staff speaks English, Spanish, Korean, German, and Slovak, and we can arrange for translators in any other language.