Trump, DHS chief Kelly conflict in messages on immigration crackdown

In the largely Caribbean community in Brooklyn, New York, rumours of immigration sweeps at a popular department store and a sprawling hospital, frequented by Caribbean nationals, spread like wildfire last week, prompting the intervention of a Caribbean American legislator.

Austin has the most detainments of undocumented immigrants without criminal convictions in the US, according to reports by the Austin American-Statesman and KVUE Wednesday.

Crossing the border illegally is a criminal offense, and the new memos make clear that those who have done so are included in the broad list of enforcement priorities.

The mayor's office noted that only 30 percent of farebeaters face criminal charges, while 70 percent receive only a civil summons.

But despite the latest guidance on immigration enforcement, the practice has sheriffs' departments skeptical about the legality of these requests. A federal appeals court has upheld a temporary halt.

"There has not been a major shift or visible shift that we know of, but I believe they have more freedom to conduct raids and immigration enforcement, because the priority for law enforcement is broader now and it could be just anybody" who is in the country illegally, she said. Those foreigners would wait in that country for USA deportation proceedings to be complete.

That provision is nearly certain to face opposition from civil libertarians and Mexican officials, and it's unclear whether the United States has the authority to force Mexico to accept third-country nationals. "I feel like I'm from here now, but I have also have family in Mexico".

At the moment, "professional" and "constructive" are not the words that emerge when officials here talk about Trump, who has enraged Mexicans across the political and economic spectrum with his incendiary broadsides on trade, immigration and other issues. "Anyone who has been impacted by these actions or has concerns should contact my office as we continue to work closely with all stakeholders to ensure our nation's values are upheld and that people are receiving answers about what is happening in their communities".

While Kelly was unequivocal, "The Department will no longer afford Privacy Act rights and protections to persons who are neither USA citizens nor lawful permanent residents", the change isn't taking effect immediately.

One example involves broader use of a program that fast-tracks deportations.

Now, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has ordered an expansion of the program to apply nationwide and for anyone who entered the country within the previous two years. That resulted in a record number of deportations without creating the kind of fears swelling up from this week's enforcement news - and sending undocumented immigrants back into the shadows.

As the administration moves forward with its immigration enforcement plans, protests are ongoing. It's unclear how much an increase would cost, but Congress would have to approve any new spending.

"The undocumented members in our community are an overwhelmingly positive part of our community", Council member Delia Garza of District 2 said in a press conference Tuesday.

However, Rep. Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who sits on the House Homeland Security Committee, applauded the Trump effort, saying the memos "overturn dangerous" policies from the Obama administration. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals remains in place, though participants could be deported if they commit crimes or otherwise are deemed to be threats to public safety or national security, according to the department.

  • Audrey Hill