Curb Your Hysteria: The Trump Administration is Just Doing Routine Immigration Enforcement

After eight years of virtually no immigration enforcement, except against a small number of violent criminal aliens, illegal alien advocates and many in the media have worked themselves up into a state of near hysteria over, what prior to 2009, was routine enforcement of our immigration laws.

Last week, the Department of Homeland Security issued new guidelines for enforcement of immigration laws. The guidelines continue to prioritize the apprehension and removal of criminal aliens, national security risks, fugitive aliens, and public charges. While not a priority for removal, other categories of illegal aliens will not be exempted from enforcement under the Trump administration.

Most alarming to those who hold the mistaken/wishful belief that immigration laws should be enforced only against the most serious criminals, the DHS guidelines call for prioritizing the removal of “criminal aliens” generally. One might think that deporting illegal aliens who have committed crimes, even non-violent ones, would be met with universal approval. One would be wrong. The New York Times’ editorial page (where all the immigration hysteria fit to print seems to wind up these days), lamented that DHS “is vastly expanding the definition of ‘criminal aliens.’

No, actually DHS has not changed the definition of “criminal aliens.” That definition is clearly laid out in the law – Section 237 of the Immigration and Nationalities Act, to be precise. It was the Obama administration that redefined “criminal aliens” to suit its policies of deporting as few people as it could get away with.

What the DHS guidelines indicate is that they will be returning to a policy of routine enforcing immigration laws as written by Congress, not as the New York Times wishes they were.

About Author


Ira joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 1986 with experience as a journalist, professor of journalism, special assistant to Gov. Richard Lamm (Colorado), and press secretary of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. His columns have appeared in National Review, LA Times, NY Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and more. He is an experienced TV and radio commentator.


  1. avatar

    All of these new policies
    announced on Feb. 21, 2017
    depend on existing immigration law.
    The Congress is not being asked
    to pass any immigration reform.
    However, additional money will be needed
    to enlarge the Border Patrol and ICE Police.
    ALL unauthorized foreign nationals
    (except those registered for DACA)
    are subject to deportation.
    However, as a practical matter,
    there is no way to deport 11 million
    unauthorized citizens of other countries
    now settled in the United States.
    As more immigration officers and judges are hired and trained,
    the rate of deportations will gradually rise.
    There will be no mass deportations.
    The likely maximum will probably be
    about one million foreign nationals per year
    returned to their homelands.
    Thus, even tho the official new policy
    does not state any priorities
    concerning which unauthorized foreign nationals
    will be returned to their native lands first,
    in practice some will be returned before others.
    And as the new policies are put into effect,
    adjustments will probably be needed.
    Public safety means that dangerous criminals
    who are also unauthorized foreign nationals
    will be deported first.
    Here is a reasonable order for deportations:

  2. avatar

    Maxine Waters isn’t attending? What a break for the rest of us! I wish she’d just do her job and quit whining. Maxine, Hillary lost. That’s just the way it is, and your bullheaded ways are keeping you from doing an effective job. I wish you didn’t represent me; it’s so embarrassing!

  3. avatar

    So now that it doesn’t fit the narrative, all that talk about Obama being the “deporter in chief” is out the window? How many times were there comments on blogs like Huffpo and others claiming stuff like “he deported more people than all previous presidents combined”, blah blah blah. I saw Chuck Schumer saying that exact thing, which went unchallenged, on Meet The Press a couple years ago when “comprehensive reform” was being discussed. It was a standard talking point among his supporters: look how tough he is. They were throwing around figures in the millions. Another big fake news story.

    But it was never true and Obama said it himself in 2011 to a group of Latin journalists. He called the numbers “deceptive” and spelled out that they were using figures for border turnarounds which previous administrations did not count. Now that it’s apparent that Trump is actually going to deport people from the interior just for being here illegally, which he said he would, the left, and the media, has suddenly discovered that Obama was not doing that. It’s 2017, but it’s apparently still 1984 with some people.

    Maxine Waters will not be attending Trump’s speech to Congress. There’s a loss indeed. A couple weeks ago she was talking about Trump and the Russians and she said something about him going along with the Russian incursion into…and then she looks to someone at her side and says hesitatingly “Korea?” Sure, we all remember that???