On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security released a new set of documents that confirm what many had already suspected: The Trump administration is making a priority of deporting an incredibly large number of undocumented people.
Since late last summer, during the 2016 presidential campaign, President Donald Trump has made a point of focusing his harsh rhetoric about immigration on what he called "criminal aliens" or "dangerous criminals" — terms he uses to describe immigrants who have been convicted of felonies.
Those immigrants remain a rhetorical focus, but the newly revealed DHS documents confirm what accounts of immigration raids last week had suggested, that the Trump administration is taking a more expansive view of which immigrants it plans on prioritizing for deportation.
The Trump administration is taking an expansive view of which immigrants it plans on prioritizing for deportation.
The DHS release, which is drawn from memos by Secretary John Kelly on how the DHS will interpret Trump's Jan. 25 executive order on immigration, went so far as to say the department will target people who “have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits.” That category may be broad enough to include any undocumented person who has participated in a government program.
In addition to expanding the category of people targeted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the memoranda also detail plans to hire 10,000 new ICE officials and increase the number of immigrant detention facilities in the U.S.
During the campaign, Trump told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that he would not use detention centers as part of his immigration policy and even claimed that he had never even heard the term.
DHS officials told the New York Times that the new guidance would not change anything with regard to President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants temporary status to people who were brought into the country as young children. Despite that claim, recent arrests by ICE suggest that the new guidelines are being used to sweep up some DACA recipients.