The Trump administration's massive overhaul of how the US targets and deports undocumented immigrants is becoming clearer after two memos from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly were released Tuesday. The policy changes in those memos could open the door to millions of deportations thanks to classifying most undocumented immigrants as "priorities." Here's what you need to know:
- Department of Homeland Security officials tells Pro Publica the plan is to send migrants illegally entering the US from Mexico back to Mexico regardless of what country they're actually from.
- Seeing the reaction to the memos, the Trump administration is currently trying to avoid a "sense of panic" among immigrants, insisting the goal isn't "mass deportations," the Washington Post reports.
- Officials say undocumented immigrants brought to the US as young children, also known as Dreamers, will only be targeted for deportation if they commit a crime, according to the New York Times.
- But the Guardian reports undocumented immigrants no longer have to be charged with a crime or convicted of one to become priorities for deportation; just being suspected of a crime is enough, even for minor offenses like shoplifting or traffic violations.
- The new policy makes detention mandatory for anyone illegally entering the US, which could make it a lot harder for people escaping violence in their home countries to plead their case for asylum, according to Vox.
- It remains to be seen whether the Republican-led Congress will be willing to pay for the massive expansion of deportation efforts. The administration wants 10,000 new ICE agents, which could cost between $1 billion and $2 billion in the first year, the Washington Post reports. Other cost estimates for Trump's deportation plan are even higher.
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