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US sets plan for sweeping crackdown on illegal immigrants

Border patrol and immigration officers are ordered to deport any illegal immigrants they find [AFP]

Date of publication: 21 February, 2017

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Two memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday will see the immediate deportation of undocumented foreigners in the US, with only a few exceptions.
New orders were issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, which will see the beginning of a sweeping crackdown on some 11 million illegal immigrants.

DHS Secretary John Kelly ordered border patrol and immigration officers to deport any illegal immigrants they find, as quickly as possible - bar a few exceptions, including children.

The priority for deportation will remain undocumented immigrants convicted of crimes, but will also include anyone who has been charged or potentially faces criminal charges.

"With extremely limited exceptions, DHS will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement," the department said.

"All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to enforcement proceedings, up to and including removal from the United States."

Kelly ordered immediate action to begin planning and building a wall along the US southern border with Mexico.

He also ordered the hiring of another 5,000 officers for the Customs and Border Protection agency and 10,000 for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Pro-immigrant groups condemned the memos and threatened legal challenges.

"These memos confirm that the Trump administration is willing to trample on due process, human decency, the well-being of our communities, and even protections for vulnerable children, in pursuit of a hyper-aggressive mass deportation policy," said Omar Jadwat, director of the Immigrants' Rights Project at the American Civil Liberties Union.

"However, President Trump does not have the last word here - the courts and the public will not allow this un-American dream to become reality," he said.

US President Donald Trump caused a global uproar during his first month in office after imposing a travel ban on citizens from seven Muslim-majority nations.

Millions united to condemn what was described as divisive rhetoric that targeted Muslims and Mexicans among other minority groups - eventually leading to US courts ruling against the ban.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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