An analysis conducted by the Center for Immigration Studies has found that virtually all undocumented immigrants currently residing in the U.S. are eligible for priority deportation under President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.
A CIS analysis conducted by former U.S. Foreign Service Officer Ronald W. Mortensen and published on Feb. 6 found that the fine print of Trump’s executive order would significantly broaden the criteria for deportation, the Washington Examiner reports.
On Jan. 25, Trump signed Executive Order 13768, establishing new criteria for deporting undocumented immigrants. Mortenson found that three provisions in the order would widen the net of priority for deportation to 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.
The first provision calls for the deportation of those who have committed any act that constitutes a chargeable criminal offense. Mortenson noted that this would include immigrants who had circumvented an official U.S. border zone and entered the country illegally.
The second provision designates any undocumented immigrant who has committed fraud before a government agency as subject to deportation. This would include undocumented immigrants who use fraudulent Social Security numbers when paying their payroll taxes.
Finally, the order lists abusing any public benefits program as an offense meriting deportation.
Mortenson concluded that these criteria would apply to 11 million undocumented immigrants. He asserted that there are roughly 14 million undocumented immigrants in the country, although a study conducted by the Pew Research Center placed the total number at 11 million, meaning that the executive order would subject all undocumented immigrants to deportation.
The retired foreign service officer asserted that lawmakers and activists who had lobbied on behalf of allowing undocumented immigrants to remain in the country had provided the Trump administration with enough evidence to identify and deport virtually all of them.
“The advocates for illegal aliens apparently never thought that the federal government would hold illegal aliens accountable for their crimes, otherwise why would they have highlighted their criminal activities in an attempt to show that they are law-abiding citizens?” Mortenson wrote.
Former President Barack Obama’s administration deported 1.4 million undocumented immigrants over eight years, the most of any president. Where Obama and Trump differ is that the former administration had focused on deporting recent arrivals, repeat offenders and undocumented immigrants with extensive criminal records. Trump’s executive order indicates that his administration aims to deport as many undocumented immigrants as possible.
“We are going back to enforcement chaos — they are going to give lip service to going after criminals, but they really are going to round up everybody they can get their hands on,” immigration lawyer David Leopold told the Los Angeles Times.
Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, agreed that the language of the executive order was extremely broad: “Almost everyone who is here illegally could potentially be considered a top priority.”
Professor Stephen Legomsky of Washington University noted that the executive order makes deportation makes deporting undocumented parents raising U.S. citizens just as much a priority as deporting violent offenders.
“That strikes me as crazy,” Legomsky told CNN.
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