Immigrants targeted for possible deportation
Many more people living in the United States illegally could face rapid deportation - including people simply arrested for traffic violations - under a sweeping rewrite of US immigration enforcement policies announced yesterday by the Trump administration.
Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offence, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offences.
The Trump administration memos replace more narrow guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.
Under the Obama administration guidance, immigrants whose only violation was being in the country illegally were generally left alone. Those immigrants fall into two categories: those who crossed the border without permission, and those who overstayed their visas.
Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offence, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.
Overstaying a visa is a civil, not criminal, offence. Those who do so are not specifically included in the priority list, but under the memos, they are still more likely to face deportation than they had been before.