Southern California activists denounced new Homeland Security rules affecting undocumented immigrants Tuesday as a “dragnet,” saying the orders will likely result in “mass deportation of millions of families” and workers.
Angelica Salas, executive director of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights, said two memos released late Monday by U.S. Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly — which implement President Donald Trump’s recent executive orders on immigration — amount to a “witch hunt” on millions of people living and working in the country illegally.
“Based on those memos, everybody (who is undocumented) is a target. There’s no longer prosecutoral discretion,” Salas said. “And they’re expanding their forces all out in order to detain and deport as many people as possible — with the possibility of over 8 million people being … part of this dragnet.”
The rules, which redefine the nation’s immigration enforcement priorities, dramatically widen the number of people who are considered a priority for deportation. They dictate that any undocumented immigrant who has been charged or convicted of any crime — and even those suspected of a crime — will now be an enforcement priority.
The Homeland Security memos indicate Kelly intends to implement Trump’s immigration-related executive orders in the “harshest interpretation possible,” Salas said.
But Salas said she’s telling her community “to prepare to stay” and know their rights — such as the right to remain silent, to avoid signing away one’s right to have an attorney and to communicate with their family before they are deported.
She also called on Americans in a statement to ask their congressional representatives, who will be visiting their local districts this week, what each will do in response to the plan.
Jennie Pasquarella, immigrant rights’ director of the American Civil Liberties Union of California, said the new rules signal the…