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.