The Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) released two memoranda related to Executive Orders (“EO”) entitled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” and “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement policies” on February 20, 2017 and February 17, 2017, respectively.
Both DHS memos discuss enforcement priorities of the immigration agencies. The memorandum related to the EO entitled “Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest” specifically addresses DHS’ enforcement priority to remove undocumented aliens. Implementation will require increasing enforcement, including hiring 10,000 officers and agents. While “priority” is used throughout the memo, it appears that that there is no particular order of priority to remove any particular class of people. The broad category of undocumented aliens subject to removal includes:
- Individuals who have been convicted of any criminal offense
- Individuals who have been charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved
- Individuals who have committed acts which constitute a chargeable criminal offense
- Individuals who have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter before a governmental agency
- Individuals who are subject to a final order of removal but have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States
- Individuals who have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits
- Individuals who, in the judgment of immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security
In spite of having a good practice of maintaining I-9 documentation, it is not possible for employers to know if any of its employees fit into any one of these categories. It is believed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency will increase raids at workplaces. Thus, businesses may want to prepare and understand and it might be a good idea for the businesses to have a plan if a raid occurs at their work place.