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DACA Appears To Be Safe But The Scope Of ICE Enforcement Priorities Has Been Substantially Widened After DHS’ Latest Implementation Memo


DACA Appears To Be Safe But The Scope Of ICE Enforcement Priorities Has Been Substantially Widened After DHS’ Latest Implementation Memo

On January 25, 2017, President Trump signed an Executive Order entitled “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States.” On February 17, 2017, DHS secretary John Kelly issued an implementation memo entitled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest,” that gave additional details regarding this original executive order. It is not hyperbole to say that these memos represent a dramatic departure from the status quo. The most sweeping change is that the Department announced that it will substantially reduce the use of prosecutorial discretion by executing immigration laws against “all removable aliens” and will no longer “exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement.” This means that everyone who is in the United States without permission is considered an enforcement priority including the following removable aliens “who:

  • Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
  • Have been charged with any criminal offense that 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 matter before a government agency;
  • Gave abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
  • Are subject to a final order of removal, but have not departed; or
  • Otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.”

This list is incredibly broad. Notably, the priority does not require that a person is convicted of any offense. Rather, it includes acts that would be a criminal offense, but in fact, the charges were dismissed or the charges were acquitted. It also includes minor infractions such as jaywalking and driving without a license. Finally, the list is so broad that it can be applied to any undocumented person under the presumption that they committed the chargeable offense of unlawful entry or a visa overstay. The silver lining in this memo for immigrants is that although the implementation memo rescinds all previous memos regarding enforcement and priorities for removal; there is a specific exception for the June 15, 2012, DACA memo and the November 20, 2014, DACA and DAPA memorandum. This appears to mean that the approximately 740,000 people who currently have DACA will continue to be able to apply and to receive this important form of prosecutorial discretion. If you have any questions regarding how these memos will impact your case, please call your attorney at Joseph & Hall P.C.

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