Immigration Executive Order #1 “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States”

I am an immigration attorney in Omaha Nebraska. I wanted to give a quick explanation of the first Immigration Executive Order signed today by the President.

First, this Executive Order is not the “wall” order. That was the other order issued today and I will address in a separate write-up.

First, a little history

Immigration law is defined in two places. The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA) and its corresponding Federal Regulations (CFR). The INA and CFRs are Congressional legislation and rules that govern immigration laws in the United States. These laws and regulations define who can get a visa, who can become a Legal Permanent Resident, who can become a US Citizen and how, as well as who is “removable” (deportable) and why. The law and regulations give flexibility and discretion to the executive branch as to how the law is to be enforced.

President Obama enforced the Immigration Laws in his own way, as does every President. He attempted to get immigration reform through Congress, but failed.

He did release a memo through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which detailed the enforcement priorities for the Border Patrol (BP), Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement (ICE), United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and DHS immigration Prosecuting Attorneys were to follow. That memo did 3 important things for people in the immigration system.

  1. It established 3 categories for illegal aliens who needed to be found and deported. Others were to be left alone.
  2. It empowered DHS Prosecutors with discretion to “not prosecute” illegal aliens with little or no criminal history.
  3. Discouraged the detention of some illegal aliens.

President Obama also created an executive program for children (or young adults) who were brought to the US as children, completed school, and have no criminal record. These people were granted a work permit, a social security card, and were promised that, unless they committed a crime listed in the above memo, would not be targeted for deportation. (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals “DACA”)

What the First Executive Action Does

  1. It rejects the above listed Memo by name.
  2. It creates a list of 7 types of people who should be found and deported ASAP. These include: Anyone with a criminal conviction (note ANY criminal conviction), anyone charged with a criminal offense (note EVEN IF the person hasn’t been convicted yet), have committed criminal acts but haven’t been charged, and have an outstanding deportation order, if an immigrant has lied to a US official in any capacity, if an immigrant has abused any public benefit program, and if the immigration officer feels the immigrant in question should be removed they are empowered to do so.
  3. It orders 10,000 new hires to help in the enforcement of the immigration laws. (Not border patrol agents. They are covered in the other Exec Order. These are the lawyers, judges, and staff needed to move immigrants quickly through the removal process).
  4. Orders State and Local Law Enforcement Agencies to act like ICE agents.
  5. Targets “sanctuary cities” and takes away all Federal money grants from those cities.
  6. Creates a public list of criminal acts committed by immigrants in any jurisdiction.

Thats about it. This constitutes a huge change in how immigrants with no visa or legal status are to be treated moving forward.

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