The Trump administration ramped up its war against illegal immigration recently, issuing new orders urging U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officials to start removing immigrants that have used fraudulent documents or have violated U.S. law in receiving government benefits.
The administration’s new guidelines were issued in memos dated June 28 and expand the government’s power to deport criminal illegal aliens.
The memos instruct USCIS officials to “be on the lookout for people who apply for naturalization or other legal immigration benefit but who have criminal records, used bogus documents, lied about their applications or had abused public benefit programs,” The Washington Times reported.
The Times notes that prior to the new guidelines, those specific violations would have been grounds for rejecting an application, but USCIS officials would have had to notify U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for any possible deportation proceedings. Under the new guidelines, USCIS officials are instructed to initiate the deportation process themselves. The Times adds:
That involves issuing a Notice to Appear, or NTA, which signals the beginning of the deportation process. Someone who receives an NTA then must go before an immigration judge, has the chance to appeal, and only then is deported.
“For too long, USCIS officers uncovering instances of fraudulent or criminal activity have been limited in their ability to help ensure U.S. immigration laws are faithfully executed,” said USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna regarding the new changes. “This updated policy equips USCIS officers with clear guidance they need and deserve to support the enforcement priorities established by the president, keep our communities safe, and protect the integrity of our immigration system from those seeking to exploit it.”
The new guidelines increase the number of U.S. government officials that are watching out for illegal aliens and who have the power to begin deportation proceedings.
“When fraud, misrepresentation, or evidence of abuse of public benefit programs is part of the record and the alien is removable, USCIS will issue an NTA upon denial of the petition or application, or other appropriate negative eligibility determination,” the new guidelines state, according to The Times.