On Friday, we got word that the Associated Press got their hands on a draft memo that specified that the National Guard would be activated in 11 states in order to assist in deporting immigrants here in the U.S. illegally.
The White House denied the report, but didn't deny the existence of the memos. Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly's signature did NOT appear on the draft memo released by the Associated Press on Friday, and DHS officials said he had NEVER approved such plans.
But, over the weekend Kelly did sign two specific memos that offered up 'new guidelines' for deporting illegal immigrants.
In these signed memos there is no mention of the National Guard being activated to help apprehend immigrants.
The memos describe plans for the Department of Homeland Security to:
- Direct federal officials to seek 'all available funding' for the border wall
- Hire thousands of additional enforcement agents
- Expand the pool of immigrants who are prioritized for removal
- Speed up deportation hearings
- Enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests
In addition, according to the Washington Post:
"The guidelines also aim to deter the arrival of a growing wave of 155,000 unaccompanied minors who have come from Mexico and Central America over the past three years. Under the new policies, their parents in the United States could be prosecuted if they are found to have paid smugglers to bring the children across the border."
Secretary Kelly said the changes are important because:
"The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States."
With regard to these two specific memos, a White House official, speaking anonymously to the Washington Post, said they are 'under review' by the White House Counsel's office.
Immigrant rights activists say that the changes are a 'major shift' to U.S. immigration policy.
Marielena Hincapie, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center says:
"This memo is just breathtaking, the way they are really looking at every part of the entire system."
Joanne Lin, senior legislative counsel for the ACLU said:
"Due process, human decency, and common sense are treated as inconvenient obstacles on the path to mass deportation. The Trump administration is intent on inflicting cruelty on millions of immigrant families across the country."