Amid judicial blockages, and rogue border agents, it appears the Trump administration is still trying its best to follow through on its campaign promises to crackdown on illegal immigration. As Reuters reports, The Department of Homeland Security has prepared new guidance for immigration agents aimed at speeding up deportations by denying asylum claims earlier in the process.
Following last week's apparent crackdown on DREAMers, Reuters reports new guidelines, contained in a draft memo dated February 17 but not yet sent to field offices, directs agents to only pass applicants who have a good chance of ultimately getting asylum, but does not give specific criteria for establishing credible fear of persecution if sent home.
The guidance instructs asylum officers to "elicit all relevant information" in determining whether an applicant has “credible fear” of persecution if returned home, the first obstacle faced by migrants on the U.S.-Mexico border requesting asylum.
Three sources familiar with the drafting of the guidance said the goal of the new instructions is to raise the bar on initial screening.
The administration's plan is to leave wide discretion to asylum officers by allowing them to determine which applications have a "significant possibility" of being approved by an immigration court, the sources said.
Furthermore, as The Wall Street Journal reports, parents and others who help children travel illegally to the U.S. would be subject to deportation or prosecution under new Trump administration policies being completed, according to a second leaked memo prepared by the Department of Homeland Security.
The draft memo also indicates people from countries other than Mexico trying to cross the southern U.S. border illegally could be returned to Mexico to await legal proceedings, while others would be held in detention centers.
The memo directs that those apprehended at the border be detained, or jailed, until their cases are heard, unless they first establishes a “credible fear” of persecution, or meet other limited exceptions.
Leon Fresco, who headed the Justice Department’s Office of Immigration Litigation under President Barack Obama, predicted many of these policies would meet resistance from courts, which are already reviewing smaller changes implemented under the previous administration.
He said he was particularly struck by the change in how children would be handled.
“It is a complete 180 to move from a policy that focused on unaccompanied minors being placed into safe locations while their removal proceedings were pending to placing the custodians of unaccompanied minors into removal proceedings,” he said. Even the smaller Obama version “is already the subject of pending litigation in Los Angeles federal court and is likely going to be viewed with great skepticism by that court.”
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Of course, as a reminder, these immigrants are illegally entering the country and this is what the American people voted for.