Washington, DC – Representative Filemon Vela (D-TX) today released the following statement in response to the radical shift in immigration enforcement priorities in the United States as outlined in the “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” Executive Order.
“President Trump’s enforcement priorities are a radical shift from U.S. immigration policy,” said Rep. Vela. “Rather than truly focusing resources on deporting criminals, this executive order cruelly subjects millions of families to being ripped apart and threatens to deport undocumented individuals with no criminal record simply because they entered into this country.”
“Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at the conservative think tank, Center for Immigration Studies, stated, ‘Almost everyone who is here illegally could potentially be considered a priority.’ This absurd policy effectively lays the groundwork for the mass deportation of millions of undocumented people who are working in hotels, restaurants, construction and agricultural sites all over this country and will severely impact industries and local economies across this nation.”
“I despise the implementation of these unsympathetic policies and will do everything in my power to repel this offensive agenda. We are at a critical juncture in the debate as it pertains to a pathway to citizenship for the millions of non-criminal undocumented people in the United States. Many Republicans repeatedly express compassion for the very individuals that Trump seeks to deport. But now, Republicans have a clear choice to make – either support the Trump mass deportation nightmare or stand for what is right and join us in our efforts to resist what could become one of the most historically inhumane efforts upon which our nation has ever embarked.”
President Trump’s Enforcement Priorities per “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” Executive Order:
Sec. 5. Enforcement Priorities. In executing faithfully the immigration laws of the United States, the Secretary of Homeland Security (Secretary) shall prioritize for removal those aliens described by the Congress in sections 212(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 235, and 237(a)(2) and (4) of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1182(a)(2), (a)(3), and (a)(6)(C), 1225, and 1227(a)(2) and (4)), as well as removable aliens who:
(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;
(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or
(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.