Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Trump’s team examines records of undocumented immigrants

Published:Monday | January 9, 2017 | 12:00 AM

United States President-elect Donald Trump has reportedly taken the first step towards confirming one of the worst fears of undocumented Caribbean and other immigrants who have taken advantage of a programme that grants them temporary stay in the US.

According to New York's Vice News, a US Department of Homeland Security memo, the president-elect's team is "poking around the agency" for information about recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, also known as DACA.

President Barack Obama started the programme through an executive action in 2012 as a way for undocumented immigrants who meet certain requirements to achieve two-year status in the US to work or attend college.

According to Vice News, while Trump pledged to "immediately terminate" DACA on his first day in the Oval Office, immigration groups worried he would take his hardline policy a step further and use the programme to locate undocumented immigrants and pursue deportations.

In fact, it said some immigration groups have started advising their clients not to apply for DACA protection.

During a December 5 meeting with Homeland Security officials, Vice News said Trump's transition team inquired if any employees had altered DACA records out of concern for immigrants' civil liberties, according to the internal memo.

The team also requested copies of every immigration executive order and directive since 2009, when Obama first took office.

"While Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an arm of the Department of Homeland Security that oversees the DACA programme, already shares information with Citizenship and Immigrant Services (ICE) when cases involve certain criminal offences, giving ICE full access to pursue deportations would reverse the original intent of the programme," Vice News said.

In a private analysis, the Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Immigrant Legal Resource Center (ILRC) found that no president over the last 50 years had used a programme granting relief to undocumented immigrants to later target the same group. The ILRC is a US national non-profit that works with immigrants, community organisations, legal professionals, law enforcement and policymakers to build a democratic society that values diversity and the rights of all people.