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President Trump Signs Two Executive Orders Calling for Aggressive Enforcement of U.S. Immigration Law Along the Southern Border and in the Interior of the United States

January 26, 2017

On January 25, 2017, President Donald Trump followed through on some campaign pledges and signed two Executive Orders ("EOs") on immigration, Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements ("Border EO") and Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States ("Interior EO"). These EOs cover a range of border and interior enforcement activities, including building a U.S./Mexico border wall, increasing detention space, expanding enforcement priorities and expedited removal, engaging state and local law enforcement officers in immigration enforcement (and punishing localities that do not comply), and increasing the number of U.S. Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement ("ICE") officers.

What follows are some of the more important components of the EOs. Notably, the EOs do not call for termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals ("DACA") program. Nevertheless, we continue to advise our clients with DACA not to depart the United States, even with advance parole. If you have questions about how these EOs may affect your case, please contact us.

The Border EO directs the Secretary of the Department Homeland Security ("DHS") to begin construction of a "physical wall" along the U.S. border with Mexico, with the goal of obtaining "complete operational control" of the border, which the EO defines as the prevention of all unlawful entries into the U.S. The Border EO further instructs the DHS Secretary to build additional detention facilities to detain noncitizens at or near the border, and to dispatch asylum officers and immigration judges to adjudicate asylum applications and conduct removal proceedings for individuals detained at those and other DHS and DHS-contracted facilities. The Border EO calls for the hiring of 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.

The Interior EO sets forth broad new enforcement priorities, directing the DHS Secretary to prioritize the removal of noncitizens who have been charged with or convicted of any criminal offense, or who have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense, as well as noncitizens who have engaged in fraud in connection with any official matter, those subject to orders of removal, and others. The Interior EO also calls for the hiring of 10,000 additional immigration officers and for the deputization of state and local law enforcement officers to enforce federal immigration law under what are known as section 287(g) agreements, named after the provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act authorizing such agreements. The Interior EO directs the DHS Secretary and the Attorney General to designate jurisdictions as "sanctuary jurisdictions" and to ensure that such jurisdictions are "not eligible to receive Federal grants, except as deemed necessary for law enforcement purposes[.]"

Further, the EOs direct the Attorney General to prioritize the criminal prosecutions of offenses "having a nexus to the southern border" along with criminal immigration offenses. The EOs also call for the periodic publication of data relating to noncitizens who are detained at the border or within the interior of the United States.

For more information, please contact James E. Morrison at (202) 572-8670 |, Michael P. Nowlan at (313) 965-8666 |, Thomas K. Ragland at (202) 552-2360 |, Patrick Taurel at (202) 772-0903 |, or another member of Clark Hill's Immigration Practice.

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