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Trump Policies Target Millions of Immigrants for Deportation

A rally against Trump in Boston, Massachusetts, on Feb. 21A rally against Trump in Boston, Massachusetts, on Feb. 21

Millions of people living in the United States illegally could be targeted for deportation, including people simply arrested for traffic violations, under a sweeping rewrite of immigration enforcement policies announced on Tuesday by the Trump administration.

Any immigrant who is in the country illegally and is charged or convicted of any offense, or even suspected of a crime, will now be an enforcement priority, according to Homeland Security Department memos signed by Secretary John Kelly. That could include people arrested for shoplifting or minor offenses—or simply having crossed the border illegally, AP reported.

The Trump administration memos replace narrower guidance focusing on immigrants who have been convicted of serious crimes, are considered threats to national security or are recent border crossers.

The new enforcement documents are the latest efforts by President Donald Trump to follow through on campaign promises to strictly enforce immigration laws. He has also promised to build a wall at the Mexican border—he insists Mexico will eventually foot the bill—and Kelly’s memos reiterate calls for Homeland Security to start planning for the costs and construction.

Trump’s earlier immigration orders, which temporarily banned all refugees as well as foreigners from seven Muslim-majority countries, have faced widespread criticism and legal action. A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary halt.

Mexico’s new ambassador to the US, Geronimo Gutierrez, called the policy changes “something very serious”. In a hearing on Tuesday with Mexican senators, he said, “Obviously, they are a cause for concern for the foreign relations department, for the Mexican government and for all Mexicans.”

The memos do not change US immigration laws, but take a far harder line toward enforcement.

 

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