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Under an expansive rewrite of immigration policy, President Donald Trump's administration has outlined aggressive plans to speed deportations and expand sweeps of people in the country illegally whether or not they have otherwise violated the law.
Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch calls the revamped rules "common sense" while the ACLU of Utah disparaged the action as "the perfect recipe for racial profiling" an early sign that the action will be divisive.
Memos released Tuesday by the Department of Homeland Security detail a scope first hinted at during Trump's campaign with calls to build a wall between the United States and Mexico and to deport millions of undocumented immigrants. Those ambitions have grown into a massive measure signed by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to expand the Border Patrol with 5,000 new agents and broaden the parameters for federal deportation raids.
Citing "significant national security vulnerability," the documents note that "the department no longer will exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement."
Previous deportation efforts by Trump's predecessors, including Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, were more moderate in approach, limiting arrests to undocumented immigrants who had serious criminal backgrounds. The memos have amended that policy to prioritize anyone who is in the country illegally and has committed a violation whether it be a minor traffic citation, shoplifting, an abuse of a public benefits program or another infraction.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, supports that effort to double down on the "criminal alien population."
"They have no business being here, especially if they've been committing crimes," he said. "If you're here illegally and you're breaking the law, you're going to have to leave. I think that's the right public policy."
The new measures also outline an expedited removal process for immediate deportations. Previous mandates limited that threshold to anyone in the country for less than 14 days and within 100 miles of the border. It now extends to those living anywhere in the United States for less than two years.
The memos propose that people from Central and South American countries who have illegally entered the United States await hearings in Mexico. It's unclear whether the federal government could force the country to accept the expelled immigrants, though the documents call for an examination of the "sources of aid" it provides to Mexico, suggesting a potential look at leverage points between the entities.
It's also unknown how these programs will be funded or what effect it would have on the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. About 680 people have been rounded up by Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) in the past few weeks, including four in Park City.
People seeking asylum in the United States will be more strictly limited with a review of whether the request is based on a "credible fear of persecution or torture" and an office will be created for the "known victims of crimes committed by removable aliens."
The action additionally authorizes the Homeland Security Department to expand detention facilities, work on a border wall, hire 10,000 ICE officers and seek aid from state and local police forces.
The Salt Lake City Police Department and Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office have said they would not go along with federal immigration mandates because they fear that it would lead to a potential loss of public trust and that it would drive crime deeper underground.
Leaders from the local immigrant-support organization Comunidades Unidas are "extremely concerned" about the memos sent Tuesday, said Executive Director Luis Garza, "because of the repercussions they will have on Utah families." Though details on how the rules will be implemented around the country are forthcoming, Garza said, it sends a message of "fear and uncertainty" to all communities.
Anna Brower Thomas, spokeswoman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Utah, joined in the condemnation, calling the directives "a blueprint for mass deportation, which is simply unacceptable." The memos, she said, violate constitutional freedoms and guarantees of equal protection.
Hatch, though, believes the United States has the right to require and "expect that those who come to our country follow our laws."
"For too long, our leaders have turned a blind eye to the problems that arise when we fail to adequately control our borders," the Republican senator said in a prepared statement. "President Trump is right to focus immigration enforcement on individuals who have committed criminal offenses."
Chaffetz, also a Republican, said he was "generally very supportive" of the immigration rules and applauded Trump for being "a president to enforce the laws on the books."
Sen. Mike Lee and Gov. Gary Herbert, both Republicans, studied the measure Tuesday night and declined to comment. Republican Reps. Rob Bishop and Chris Stewart were separately out of the country on congressional work trips, staffers said, and would not be able to speak about the rules immediately. GOP Rep. Mia Love's office did not return a request for comment.
Catholic Community Services of Utah, which hosts immigrant and refugee programs in the state, expressed shock about the memos.
"The damages created by these new measures will be felt by the most vulnerable in our communities," the group said in a prepared statement.
The rules present "a new reality for Mexican nationalists," said Renato Olmeda-Gonzalez, a spokesman for the Mexican Consulate of Salt Lake City. In light of the new order, Olmeda-Gonzalez said the consulate is advising people to be prepared and to register U.S.-born children for dual citizenship in case parents are deported. He also suggests that people stay informed from official sources, such as consulate-aligned organizations, about possible raids or ICE operations.
"There's been a lot of hype and fear in the community, and it's very palpable," he said, later adding: "We tell them not to live in panic or fear, but to be informed, which is the most important thing."
There is one relief, Olmeda-Gonzalez said, in that the new rules don't affect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, commonly referred to as DACA.
The Trump administration directive comes just weeks after the president unveiled an executive order on refugees restricting travel from seven Muslim countries. That edict was blocked by federal court rulings.