Trump administration considers expanding DHS deportation powers: report

Trump administration considers expanding DHS deportation powers: report
© Victoria Sarno Jordan

The Trump administration is considering expanding the Department of Homeland Security's authority to expedite deportations for some undocumented immigrants, The Washington Post reported Friday.

Under current policies, DHS can expedite the deportations of undocumented immigrants who have been in the U.S. for less than two weeks and are detained within 100 miles of the border.

A memo, obtained by the Post and described as a draft by a DHS spokeswoman, would allow the agency to circumvent immigrations courts for the removal of immigrants apprehended anywhere in the country and who cannot prove that they've been in the U.S. for more than 90 days.

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The proposal would not require congressional approval. No decision has yet been made on the policy, DHS spokeswoman Joanne Talbot said.

“The potential changes would allow DHS to more efficiently use resources to remove persons who have been illegally present for relatively brief periods of time while still observing due-process requirements,” Talbot told the Post.

Congress established a process for expedited deportations in 1996 that applied to undocumented immigrants anywhere in the U.S. that could not prove that they had been in the country for two years.

The administration of former President George W. Bush issued guidelines in 2004, specifying that the mechanism could only used for those taken into custody within 100 miles of the border and who had been in the country for less than two weeks.

Trump has vowed to crack down on illegal immigration. That includes hiring thousands more Border Patrol agents and building a massive wall between the U.S. and Mexico. 

Since taking office in January, Trump has done away with an Obama-era policy that shielded undocumented immigrants who were parents of U.S. citizens or had no criminal record from deportation.

He is also weighing changes to the program known as Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), which extends deportation protections to undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.