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Advocates: DHS immigration memo calls for 'dragnet'

Posted: 3:05 PM, Feb 21, 2017
Updated: 2017-02-21 22:32:35Z

Legal experts and immigrant rights advocates are reviewing the Trump administration's new plan to find and deport undocumented immigrants in the United States.

There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country right now, and besides children and young adults covered by DACA, the new memo from Homeland Security says everyone who is in the country illegally is subject to arrest and deportation.

Once in custody, the memo says people will only be released in limited circumstances like if they are determined to actually be a citizen, legal permanent resident, refugee, asylee or someone else who is allowed to live in the U.S.

Angelica Salas is the executive director of The Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights. She blasted the memo as a "dragnet" in a statement.

"Let us be clear about this: these guidelines represent an unlawful, expedited process, a dragnet, to remove undocumented immigrants living and working in the U.S. This is a dastardly approach to a very human issue."

Brendan Greene of the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition was confident many of the policies, which he says are revivals of old ones that had been ruled unconstitutional or to violate civil rights, would be struck down again.

"We are a country that does not believe in rounding people up and targeting certain groups of individuals," Greene said. "A lot of these policies that are being put forth have already been proven to violate the constitution and we'll just have to prove that again."

The plan includes building the wall along the Mexican border, and hiring 10,000 more immigration agents to put the policies into effect. It also revives a discontinued program that gives participating local and state law enforcement agencies some immigration enforcement powers. Homeland Security posted a "fact sheet" about the new memo. 

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