AILA Doc. No. 17022136 | Dated February 21, 2017
WASHINGTON, DC - The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) condemned the recently released Department of Homeland Security (DHS) memos that set forth a series of aggressive enforcement tactics to be rolled out on a massive scale. These policies, if implemented as written, will trample due process.
AILA President William A. Stock noted, "Targeted enforcement, focused on actual national security threats, makes sense. However, these memos, which seem to treat everyone as an enforcement priority, aren't going to make us safer, and they are already causing fear in communities across the nation. With these memos, DHS is reshaping immigration enforcement in a way that is antithetical to American values and our country's historic commitment to justice and due process by targeting people who have not even been charged with a crime. Further, the massive increase in detention called for will require billions in funding, which Congress will have to impose on American taxpayers to make this plan a reality, and the lack of provision for hiring the necessary immigration judges and asylum officers to handle the influx of cases means the system will become even more backlogged and dysfunctional."
Benjamin Johnson, AILA's Executive Director expressed deep concern over the new memos and the administration's clear decision to implement an enforcement-only immigration policy. "The President is unleashing a massive deportation force, and declaring open season on immigrants and the communities where they live and work. If President Trump's intention is to protect our nation from those who would do us harm, then these memos are a losing strategy. The laundry list of policies outlined in the memos will draw attention and resources away from targeted efforts to protect public safety, and will harm the most vulnerable populations who will undoubtedly get swept up and removed from the United States without any opportunity to consult with a lawyer or see a judge. Our immigration system is completely out of sync with the needs of American families and businesses, and these draconian enforcement policies are going to make things worse, not better. It is time for the President and Congress to get to work on real solutions that will help American families and the economy while remaining true to our values."
The signed memos include:
AILA urges anyone who may be impacted by these new enforcement policies to review "Know Your Rights" information, and to speak to a qualified immigration attorney about their situation. Being fully informed of one's statutory and Constitutional rights is the best defense in a time of turmoil.
The American Immigration Lawyers Association is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 17022136.