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December 14, 2017

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Trump’s immigration policy criticized by leaders in Las Vegas

U.S. Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., condemned President Donald Trump and his immigration policy this afternoon, characterizing it as “morally reprehensible and economically stupid."

Two memos released this morning by the Department of Homeland Security describe how the Trump administration plans to increase immigration enforcement. The memos call for the hiring of an additional 10,000 immigration officials and 5,000 border patrol agents, as well as expanding the scope of who can be considered for expedited deportation without any court proceedings.

It puts the majority of the country’s 11 million undocumented immigrants at risk for deportation.

“(Trump) has no intention to do comprehensive immigration reform, which is what we all know we need because the system is broken,” Titus said. “Instead he wants to build a wall … and he wants to go after people who are here now.”

Titus said the policies will wreak havoc on the immigrant community and tear families apart.

UNLV Boyd School of Law professor Michael Kagan described the call to expand expedited deportations an unprecedented move that prior administrations — both Democratic and Republican — have never taken. Expedited removals have previously been reserved for people picked up on the border who have only been in the United States for less than two weeks.

Vague wording in the Trump memos today suggests immigration officers will have discretion on who can be considered for expedited removal.

“We can be pretty confident that the expansion of expedited removal will result in the wrongful deportation of U.S. citizens,” said Kagan, pointing out that few people carry significant proof of their citizenship with them on times.

The provision is likely to be challenged in court.

“What the DHS memos today are threatening to do is to deport people and separate families with no hearing at all,” Kagan said. “That’s less hearing than you’d get at my university for a parking ticket. That’s very dangerous.”

Titus noted Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, recipients were not included as targets for deportation. “But who knows what that means,” she added. “Things seem to change by the tweet.”

American Civil Liberties Union of Nevada Legal Director Amy Rose echoed this concern, saying such policies will no doubt result in racial profiling. Legal Aid of Southern Nevada Executive Director Barbara Buckley noted many lawyers in the area are volunteering their time on immigration cases.

Undocumented immigrants are encouraged to reach out to those organizations, and the legal clinic at the Boyd School of Law.

“People are very frightened. Our goal is to tell the community that not everybody in government is their enemy. Know that there are people on your side,” Titus said.

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