Directions given to the agencies places those who have been convicted of crimes at the highest operational priority. Anyone caught illegally crossing the border will immediately be detained.
During Tuesday’s White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated that the DHS memo “outlines the steps that DHS will take to secure the nation’s southern border, prevent further illegal immigration, and to repatriate illegal immigrants swiftly, consistently, and humanely.”
“This includes immediately identifying and allocating all sources of available funding for the planning, design, maintenance and construction of a wall along our southern border,” Spicer said.
The only exception to the new deportation rules will be granted to those approximately 750,000 undocumented immigrants currently protected under President Barack Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), provided that they comply with program rules.
"Department personnel have full authority to arrest or apprehend an alien whom immigration officers have probable cause to believe is in violation of the immigration laws," according to a DHS memo. "They also have full authority to initiate removal proceedings against any alien who is subject to removal under any provision of the (Immigration and Nationality Act)."
Spicer stated that the order is not an effort at mass deportation. When asked if the message from the White House, to those whose only crime is to be in the country illegally, is ‘don’t worry,’ Spicer replied that the message is that those who have committed crimes will be the first to go.
“The message from this White House, and from the DHS, is that those people who are in this country illegally and pose a threat to our public safety — or have committed a crime — will be the first to go and we will be aggressively making sure that it occurs,” Spicer responded.
Immigration groups are now rallying, as the President previously claimed that his focus would be primarily on those who have criminal histories. Tensions have already been high, as throughout the last month over 700 undocumented immigrants have been arrested by ICE. The agency claimed that 75 percent of those targeted had criminal records.
Those who are arrested and cannot prove that they have been in the United States for over two years continuously will be subject to “expedited removal.” This quick removal was previously only used for those who were caught within 100 miles of the border within 14 days of their entry.
Additionally, the memo will reallocate money used by DHS for advocacy on behalf of undocumented immigrants to establish a new Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, which will advocate for victims of crimes committed by those who are in the US illegally.