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New immigration memos tough on enforcement, but leave in place DACA and DAPA

The ongoing developments in the area of immigration policy under the Trump administration are of great interest to our clients, not only because of the subject matter of these policy changes, but also because the changes stand in such stark contrast to those of the previous administration, at least in certain respects.

As we've previously noted on this blog, President Trump's executive order on immigration, signed at the end of January, is bound to face significant legal challenges, and already has with the decision to strike down the so-called travel ban. Following that decision, Trump is reportedly attempting to rework the measure to ensure it is upheld by the courts. We wait to see what he and his people come up with. In the midst of these developments, though, the administration has also taken steps to increase its ability to deport immigrants, though with some important exceptions. 

This week, the Department of Homeland Security released two memos laying out its immigration enforcement policy. On the one hand, the memos clearly state that any undocumented immigrant charged with a crime, without exception, may be subjected to deportation proceedings. Critics say the policy will allow the administration to widen the scope of immigration enforcement, though it remains to be seen how this all plays out.

On the positive side, and perhaps unexpectedly, the memos leave in place the Obama-era policies known as DACA and DAPA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals and the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Relations. These policies were untouched by the memos, so they are still in effect for qualifying immigrants.

In our next post, we'll look a bit more and DACA and DAPA, how immigrants can make use of these policies for their protection, and their potential importance in what is most assuredly going to be an era of increased immigration enforcement. 

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