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From The Washington Post:
Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly has signed sweeping new guidelines that empower federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants inside the United States and at the border.
In a pair of memos, Kelly offered more detail on plans for the agency to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests.
The new directives would supersede nearly all of those issued under previous administrations, Kelly said, including measures from President Barack Obama aimed at focusing deportations exclusively on hardened criminals and those with terrorist ties.
“The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” Kelly stated in the guidelines. He cited a surge of 10,000 to 15,000 additional apprehensions per month at the southern U.S. border between 2015 and 2016. A White House official said the memos were drafts and that they are under review by the White House Counsel’s Office, which is seeking some changes.
The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the process is not complete, declined to offer specifics. In a series of executive actions in January, President Trump announced plans to make good on his campaign promises to build a wall on the border with Mexico and to ramp up enforcement actions against the nation’s estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants. Kelly’s memos, which have not been released publicly, are intended as an implementation blueprint for DHS, formally establishing the new policies and directing agency employees to begin following them.
However, many specifics of achieving the goals of Trump’s executive orders remain unclear. For example, Kelly’s memos direct federal officials to seek all available funding for the border wall, but most of the funds, estimated at more than $20 billion, must be appropriated by Congress. Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, was sworn in to oversee the Department of Homeland Security hours after Trump was inaugurated Jan. 20. His memos are copied to officials at Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. A Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman declined to comment on the documents but did not dispute their authenticity.
The memos do not include measures to activate National Guard troops to help apprehend immigrants in 11 states that had been included in a draft document leaked to reporters on Friday. DHS officials said Kelly, whose signature did not appear on the draft document, had never approved such plans.