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LULAC Condemns DHS Memos That Set the Stage for Mass Deportations

February 21, 2017

WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a series of memos detailing the enforcement procedures for President Trump’s executive orders on immigration and border security.

Under the new guidance, the Department of Homeland Security has effectively ended the Obama-era focus on deporting the most dangerous criminal aliens and has replaced it with a policy that makes almost every undocumented immigrant an enforcement priority. Those accused or even suspected of breaking the law will now be targeted for deportation without a hearing. Due process protections and access to our judicial system are dramatically eroded with the expansion of “expedited removal” to the entire country.

“The new guidelines could result in the deportation of millions, including the non-threatening hardworking immigrants that President Trump has said he wants to help,” said LULAC National President Roger C. Rocha, Jr. “Without prioritization, criminal felons will be lost in the hunt for harmless undocumented immigrants whose only infraction is seeking a better life for themselves and their families.”

Although the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) remains intact, the memo indicates that further guidance for this program will be provided in the future. In addition, the memo establishes the Victims of Immigration Crime Enforcement (VOICE) Office in order to report crimes committed by undocumented immigrants.

“The memos released today provide far too much latitude for low level immigration officers to arrest, imprison and deport virtually any undocumented immigrant whom they encounter,” said LULAC National Executive Director Brent Wilkes. “It is also deeply disturbing that a federal agency would create an office (VOICE) whose main purpose appears to be to create public anger against immigrants in the United States. Instead of addressing common sense solutions to solve the complexities of immigration issues, the Trump administration’s policies will only serve to further instill fear in an already vulnerable population while further dividing Americans.”

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The League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) is the nation’s largest and oldest civil rights volunteer-based organization that empowers Hispanic Americans and builds strong Latino communities. Headquartered in Washington, DC, with 1000 councils around the United States and Puerto Rico, LULAC’s programs, services and advocacy address the most important issues for Latinos, meeting critical needs of today and the future. For more information, visit www.lulac.org.

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