The Department of Homeland Security, Secretary John Kelly, has issued immediate Memorandums relating to Implementing the President’s Executive Orders related to interior enforcement and border enforcement.
The Memorandum contains numerous items that pose immediate and significant concerns for our immigrant populations on the South Florida. Among them:
The Department will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable noncitizens from enforcement.
Priorities for immediate removal include noncitizens: convicted of criminal offenses; charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved; who have committed acts which constitute a criminal offense; have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation with any official matter before a government agency; are subject to a final order of removal but have not departed the United States; or who in the judgement of an immigration officer pose a risk to public safety or national security.
Additionally, the Memorandums declare removal proceedings shall be initiated against noncitizens incarcerated in federal, state, and local facilities under the Institutional Hearing and Removal Program.
The Memorandums also call for using a “force multiplier” by designating qualified state or local law enforcement officers as immigration officers. Immigration officers are now allowed to use prosecutorial discretion to include the arrest or apprehension of a noncitizens whom the immigration officer has probable cause to believe is in violation of immigration laws. No group or class of immigrant will be exempt from the discretionary detention and arrests.
The Homeland Security Secretary has also immediately reallocated all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of undocumented persons, including outreach and advocacy services to undocumented persons. And, the Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither U.S. citizens nor lawful permanent residents.
The Gaston Law Firm believes these immediate actions by the Department of Homeland Security signal an increased risk of those noncitizens who are on the South Florida being detained and removed from the country, even if they have no criminal record and strong ties to our community.
And, some of the policies, such as allowing people to be detained and potentially arrested because they, at the discretion of immigration officers, may look as if they are in violation of immigration laws put lawful permanent residents in jeopardy simply because of the color of their skin or their perceived nationality.
The Gaston Law Firm is urging anyone with concerns over these new and immediate stepped up immigration enforcement and removal actions to contact our office so we may discuss immigration and help your family plan for the possibility contact with immigration officers. WE are here to help you understand your rights and take proactive steps to protect yourself and your family.
The Memorandums are ratcheting up the fears in our immigrant communities. In particular, those DREAMers, who have work permits and are attending schools on the South Florida under President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, can no longer be guaranteed that they are exempt from being removed from our communities and being sent back to countries they barely know.
DREAMers, especially those without a criminal record, are urged to pursue or maintain their DACA status. All noncitizens are encouraged to immediately pursue the strongest immigration status they can achieve.
These are some very scary and trying times for member of our immigrant communities, our DREAMers, and those of us who have friends and family members that are not citizens. Now more than ever, it is crucial for all noncitizens to know their rights and be proactive about their immigration situation.
Be informed. Be proactive. Know your rights.
Click to Read Executive Orders and Memos: https://www.dhs.gov/executive-orders-protecting-homeland