Department of Homeland Security Implementation Memo
Issued on February 20, 2017


Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly issued two implementation memos to guide personnel on implementation of the executive orders from the Trump administration regarding public safety and immigration released in January. These memos radically alter the procedure of deportations undertaken by DHS, expanding the category of people considered ‘priority for removal’ from illegal immigrants who have committed serious crimes to people in the country illegally who were convicted of any crime. The memos also include a directive to deport unaccompanied children and to deport or prosecute anyone who helped bring a child into the United States illegally (including parents and family members). LEARN MORE


The change in deportation priorities made in these memos could render the category of ‘priority for removal’ meaningless, as immigrants can face charges just for entering the country illegally. Interpreted in this manner, this could make the deportation of 11 million undocumented immigrants a priority. To accomplish this, the DHS would require more employees, and this memo includes an order to hire 15,000 in ICE and CBP combined – but a mass hire of this scale will likely lead to expedited training that could further expose the rampant corruption in these agencies. Even with these hires, DHS will lack the capacity to enforce these new guidelines systematically, introducing a new unpredictability to deportation proceedings that will likely sow even more fear in immigrant communities. These memos have also already caused international outcry because they could lead to deportees of any nationality to be deported to Mexico, which the Mexican government has stated they will dispute. LEARN MORE

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This brief was compiled by Oliver Bjornsson. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief please contact



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