Immigration Law Enforcement Begins

John Kelly, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, has issued two memoranda, directed to the relevant federal agencies, that implement the executive orders on immigration that President Trump signed in the first days of his administration. The orders are reproduced below, so you can study them for yourself.

The main thrust of the memoranda is to tell ICE and the other agencies that the nation’s immigration laws are now going to be enforced. It will take time, and it will take more resources; one of the orders directs the hiring of 10,000 new ICE officers and agents. So it will take some time to see how the new enforcement regime plays out. But the intent to resume enforcement of the immigration laws is clear.

The memorandum titled “Enforcemen of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” explicitly invokes the president’s constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed:

Congress has defined the Department’s role and responsibilities regarding the enforcement of the immigration laws of the United States. Effective immediately, and consistent with Article II, Section 3 ofthe United States Constitution and Section 3331 of Title 5, United States Code, Department personnel shall faithfully execute the immigration laws of the United States against all removable aliens.

Hallelujah. It shouldn’t be news that we now have a president who takes his oath of office seriously, but in view of Barack Obama’s abdication of his constitutional responsibilities, it is news.

The same order abolishes the various categories of immunity that the Obama administration had established:

Except as specifically noted above, the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement. In faithfully executing the immigration laws, Department personnel should take enforcement actions in accordance with applicable law. In order to achieve this goal, as noted below, I have directed ICE to hire 10,000 officers and agents expeditiously, subject to available resources, and to take enforcement actions consistent with available resources. However, in order to maximize the benefit to public safety, to stem unlawful migration and to prevent fraud and misrepresentation, Department personnel should prioritize for removal those aliens described by Congress in Sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235(b) and (c), and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA).

The second order, “Implementing the President’s Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies,” directs that construction of the wall on the Southern border proceed:

Consistent with the President’s Executive Order, the will of Congress and the need to secure the border in the national interest, CBP, in consultation with the appropriate executive departments and agencies, and nongovernmental entities having relevant expertise–and using materials originating in the United States to the maximum extent permitted by law–shall immediately begin planning, design, construction and maintenance of a wall, including the attendant lighting, technology (including sensors), as well as patrol and access roads, along the land border with Mexico in accordance with existing law, in the most appropriate locations and utilizing appropriate materials and technology to most effectively achieve operational control of the border.

The liberal media have greeted these DHS memoranda much as you would expect. The New York Times headlines, “Trump Details Plans to Deport Millions of Immigrants.” That, I think, remains to be seen.

President Donald Trump has directed his administration to more aggressively enforce the nation’s immigration laws, unleashing the full force of the federal government to find, arrest and deport those in the country illegally, regardless of whether they have committed serious crimes.

That’s a rather melodramatic beginning, apart from the fact that many people believe that violating our immigration laws is a serious crime. The Times packs a lot of dishonesty into the following paragraph:

Documents released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security revealed the broad scope of the president’s ambitions: to publicize crimes by immigrants;

I can’t find any directive in either memorandum to “publicize crimes by immigrants,” and, in any event, nothing in the orders relates to immigrants. The orders are directed at illegal immigrants. The Times deliberately conflates the two.

…enlist local police officers as enforcers; strip immigrants of privacy rights;

This is truly disgraceful. First, nothing in these memoranda relates to “immigrants.” Only illegal aliens are affected. The issue that one of the memoranda addresses with regard to privacy is the fact that under current policy, victims of crimes committed by illegal aliens may not be able to learn what disposition was made of their cases. This is what the memorandum says:

Criminal aliens routinely victimize Americans and other legal residents. Often, these victims are not provided adequate information about the offender, the offender’s immigration status, or any enforcement action taken by ICE against the offender. Efforts by ICE to engage these victims have been hampered by prior Department of Homeland Security (DHS) policy extending certain Privacy Act protections to persons other than U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents, leaving victims feeling marginalized and without a voice.
The Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents. The DHS Privacy Office will rescind the DHS Privacy Policy Guidance memorandum, dated January 7, 2009, which implemented the OHS “mixed systems” policy of administratively treating all personal information contained in DHS record systems as being subject to the Privacy Act regardless of the subject’s immigration status.

The now-revoked Obama administration Policy Guidance directed that the same privacy protections be extended to illegal immigrants as to American citizens, even though the memorandum itself admitted that the governing statute is limited to “a citizen of the United States or a Legal Permanent Resident.” So the Obama administration unjustifiably extended certain privacy rights to illegal aliens, to the detriment of those who were injured by their crimes. The Trump administration has now corrected this injustice. This is what the Times shamefully describes as “strip[ping] immigrants of privacy rights.”

One could go on like this for a long time, but let’s take just one more paragraph of the Times’s cri de cœur:

The new enforcement policies put into practice the fearful speech that Trump offered on the campaign trail…

Trump’s “fearful speech”? What on earth does that mean? This is not just editorializing, but bizarre editorializing.

…vastly expanding the definition of “criminal aliens”…

It doesn’t expand the definition of criminal aliens, it merely reverses an Obama policy (which itself reversed prior policy) so that various portions of the immigration laws will once again be enforced.

…and warning that such people in the country illegally “routinely victimize Americans,” disregard the “rule of law and pose a threat” to people in communities across the U.S. Research shows lower levels of crime among immigrants than among native-born Americans.

Which, of course, tells us nothing about levels of crime among illegal immigrants. Are NY Times reporters so dumb that they think we can’t follow the pea when they confuse legal and illegal immigration?

Actually, there is overwhelming evidence that illegals commit far more than their share of serious crimes. But don’t wait to hear about it in the New York Times.

Here are the memoranda:

17 0220 S1 Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest by John Hinderaker on Scribd

17 0220 S1 Implementing the Presidents Border Security Immigration Enforcement Improvement Policies by John Hinderaker on Scribd

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