This Morning: Go Read Some Homeland Security Memos!
We know we don’t like to read bad news, and we certainly don’t like to read bad political news. And as NYT’s Kevin Quealy points out, web analytics company Chartbeat found that even when bad news is right under our noses (Mouses?), we aren’t likely to click on it.
But ho-ly sh-it, the news is bad, if yesterday’s immigration memos are any indication. And despite Trump repeatedly telling us what he he was going to do, these directives from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) seemed to sneak up on me. But now I’ve spent this morning reading the legalese implementing Trump’s immigration plans and my anxiety over how this will be rolled out now goes to 11.
A note as always: I am not a lawyer and I started reading these before my first cup of coffee this morning, but the tone and language used throughout these memos made me deeply uncomfortable - and please, lawyer subscribers correct me if I am misinterpreting, and I will share your feedback.
According to the as of January 21 2017, “the Department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement,” meaning that DHS has expanded the pool of immigrants "considered priorities for deportation.” These memos override Obama’s policies, except for his two orders related to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA.
Immigration enforcement agencies are staffing up at the direction of DHS, because now ANY undocumented immigrants who
“(I) have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(2) have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved;
(3) have committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense; …
(7) in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security,” (emphasis and formatting mine.)
And this is what we need to watch for: when departments take these Executive Orders and interpret and turn them into directives for their thousands of employees and contractors, who respond as they are empowered to do. Because this “broad discretion” environment leads to situations where international airlines cancel plane tickets back to the states for “Nebraska-born Harvard grads” because of their names. And where an undocumented woman is detained at a protective order hearing after her (allegedly) abusive boyfriend reports her to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Individuals have extraordinary power when it comes to immigration.