New White House memo will "unshackle" DHS and Border Patrol agents

There’s a new sheriff in town and he seems to be making two distinct groups of people very nervous. One of these groups is comprised of the tens of millions of illegal immigrants who are in our country in violation of the law. The other is, of course, the Democrats. A new memo coming from John Kelly and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is being described as “un-shackling” law enforcement when it comes to apprehending and deporting illegal aliens regardless of their current status in terms of any additional crimes they may have committed. Is this the so-called “mass deportation” policy which liberals seem to be so enraged over? You be the judge. (Government Executive)

The Homeland Security Department has issued new guidance to implement President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security, giving several components more authority to enforce laws and hire new personnel.

The memorandums by DHS Secretary John Kelly will “take the shackles off” Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol employees, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Tuesday. The sets of guidance are not meant to create mass deportations, he said, though they remove all classes and categories of undocumented immigrants exempt from deportation.

To meet the new priorities, Trump said in his orders last month ICE and CBP should grow their workforces by 15,000 employees and work with the Office of Personnel Management to receive special hiring authorities. DHS has not made any such request from OPM, a spokesman for the human resources agency said Tuesday.

There are a number of welcome changes in these new policies. While not directly related to the aforementioned “removing of shackles,” we are set to begin hiring between 10 and 15,000 new agents. The administration freely admits this is not going to happen overnight and will likely roll out over a period of two years or more but they are obviously coming out of the gates pretty quickly.

Far more important is the amount of latitude and discretion being given to ICE and border patrol agents. The old rules under the Obama administration effectively hogtied these law enforcement officials, setting all sorts of rules and guidelines for when you could ask someone a question or take them into custody. These new guidelines will leave it up to the agents’ own discretion as to when they have “probable cause or reasonable suspicion” that a person may be in the country illegally. This doesn’t mean that we can’t or won’t prioritize the capture and deportation of illegal aliens who have committed other crimes, but it also means that when they have someone in custody who turns out to be in the country illegally they can still move forward with putting them on a bus (after the normal hearing) and sending them back home.

If we are going to have the usual food fights in the media between Democrats and Republicans over this it would be refreshing to hear some journalist ask those who are opposing these measures why precisely they don’t want to see people who are in the country illegally sent home. Too often these questions are clouded by people who conflate legal and illegal immigration or attempt to use the need to prioritize felons over others for the same purpose. Nobody is saying we shouldn’t dedicate resources to removing or locking up the most violent criminals among the illegal alien community, but even the ones with no criminal records are still breaking the law and there is no reason they can’t be deported as well when we happen to catch them.

So you want to call that “mass deportation?” Fine by me. Bring it on.