Breaking News: President Trump's Immigration Executive Order

Attorney Sarjo Barrow discusses the two executive orders signed by President Donald Trump regarding enforcement of U.S. immigration laws and how it will affect undocumented immigrants.

On Wednesday, January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump signed two executive orders regarding enforcement of U.S. immigration laws.  

The Two Executive Orders

President Trump signed two executive orders directing the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, boosting border patrol forces, and increasing the number of immigration enforcement officers who carry out deportations. The orders also call for stripping sanctuary cities of federal grant funding and announced sweeping new criteria that could make many more undocumented immigrants priorities for deportation.

However, President Trump indicated that he does not need Congress to pass new legislation to implement the border control and immigration reform agenda he outlined during his campaign for president, saying he would "work within the existing system and framework."

"We do not need new laws," Trump said soon after signing the two executive orders.

The executive orders Trump signed Wednesday call for boosting the ranks of Border Patrol forces by an additional 5,000 agents, as well as for 10,000 new Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to carry out deportations. The orders noted that the increases were subject to Congress's appropriation of sufficient funds.

What is not clear is whether the addition of 10,000 ICE officers will result in house-to-house searches for undocumented immigrants in sanctuary cities. ICE is responsible for arresting and detaining immigration violators.

New criteria for deportation priorities

President Trump also outlined new criteria for determining which undocumented immigrants should be prioritized for deportation, putting hundreds of thousands and perhaps millions more people at the top of the federal government's list of people to deport.

Any undocumented immigrant convicted or simply charged with a crime that hasn't been adjudicated could be deported under the Trump administration's new policy.

In contrast, under Obama, only undocumented immigrants convicted of a felony, serious misdemeanor, or multiple misdemeanors were considered priorities for deportation.

New priorities for deportation under Trump also include any undocumented immigrants who abuse public benefits, or simply those considered "a risk to public safety or national security... in the judgment of an immigration officer" -- an entirely open-ended premise.

Trump expected to order temporary ban on refugees

President Trump is also expected to sign another order that includes a temporary ban on most refugees and a suspension of visas for citizens of Syria and six other Middle Eastern and African countries, say congressional aides and immigration experts briefed on the matter.

According to Reuters news, another order will block visas being issued to anyone from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen, said the aides and experts, who asked not to be identified.

The highlights of the plan, which were announced in a speech at the Department of Homeland Security, include the following:

  • The homeland security secretary will “take all appropriate steps to immediately plan, design, and construct a physical wall along the southern border, using appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve complete operational control of the southern border.”
  • “Identify and, to the extent permitted by law, allocate all sources of Federal funds” for said wall.
  • The homeland security secretary is supposed to take actions to ensure the “detention of aliens apprehended for violations of immigration law.” That sounds as though it means all 11 million undocumented immigrants in this country.
  • However, the policy prioritizes deportation of a long list of undocumented immigrants who have “been convicted” of a crime; “been charged” with a crime, “where such charge has not been resolved”; have committed acts that “constitute a chargeable criminal offense”; “have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official [government] matter or application”; have “abused” public welfare programs; have been subject to final order for deportation but not complied; and finally “[i]n the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”
  • To enforce these deportations, the administration is planning to hire a force of 5,000 new border agents and 10,000 new immigration officers, or a “deportation force” if you will.
  • The executive action empowers local and state police to “perform the functions of immigration officers in relation to the investigation, apprehension, or detention” of undocumented immigrants. Basically, local cops will now be immigration enforcement officials.
  • It creates a weekly report of “a comprehensive list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.” So, an undocumented immigrant crime report/sanctuary city shame list.
  • It establishes a special “Office for Victims of Crimes Committed by Removable Aliens.”
  • It cuts off federal funds “except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes by the Attorney General or the Secretary” for so-called sanctuary cities that do not enforce federal immigration law.

If you or a family member is here undocumented or is already under immigration custody, please call the immigration attorneys at Lawton & Cates, S.C. for immediate help.

Remember, unless you are subjected to expedited removal, ICE must file a charging document with an Immigration Court to have an Immigration Judge deport you. And as such, you may be eligible for some relief under the immigration law. Therefore, it is imperative to consult the experienced immigration attorneys of Lawton & Cates, S.C. for a consultation.