Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has signed new guidelines allowing federal authorities to more aggressively detain and deport illegal immigrants, the Washington Post reported.
According to the memos, the agency plans to hire thousands of additional enforcement agents, expand the pool of illegals prioritized for removal, speed up deportation hearings and enlist local law enforcement to help make arrests, the Post reported.
The new directives go beyond those under President Barack Obama, which focused deportations exclusively on hardened criminals and those with terrorist ties, the Post reported.
“The surge of immigration at the southern border has overwhelmed federal agencies and resources and has created a significant national security vulnerability to the United States,” the Kelly guidelines stated, the Post reported.
An unnamed White House official said the memos were drafts and that they are under review by the White House Counsel’s Office, which is seeking some changes, the Post reported.
The news of the memos came as Kelly announced Saturday that President Donald Trump is working on a “streamlined” executive order banning travel from seven predominantly Muslim nations, which was initially rejected by a federal court, Kelly said Saturday.
Speaking on a panel about combating terrorism at the Munich Security Conference, Kelly said Trump’s original order was designed as a “temporary pause” to allow him to “see where our immigration and vetting system has gaps — and gaps it has — that could be exploited.”
He said the Trump administration was surprised when courts blocked it from implementing the executive order and now “the president is contemplating releasing a tighter, more streamlined version” of the travel ban.
Kelly said this next time he will be able to “make sure that there’s no one caught in the system of moving from overseas to our airports.”
He added it was “a good assumption” that Trump’s new executive order would allow people with green cards and visas to come into the United States – but only people with visas who were already in transit. Others, he said, “we will have a short phase-in period to make sure that people on the other end don’t get on airplanes.”