Coalition Decries Unconstitutional, Destructive DHS Memos Targeting Millions of Immigrants for Enforcement

January 21st, 2017

Yesterday, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly signed two memorandums outlining the Department’s plan to implement President Trump’s executive orders on interior enforcement and border security. While some of the directives in the memos can be implemented immediately, others, such as the construction of a border wall and hiring additional immigration enforcement officers, will require additional funding from Congress.

The following is a statement from Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition: “The two Executive Orders on interior enforcement and border security signed by President Trump two weeks ago are an affront to America’s basic values of dignity, liberty and justice and have deep repercussions for basic civil liberties and the rights afforded by our Constitution. The two memos signed by DHS Secretary Kelly yesterday provide the blueprint for implementing this cruel and unjust vision for the United States.”

“The mass deportation directives outlined in these memos will needlessly tear apart families, destroy businesses, and wreak havoc on time-tested American principles of due process and fairness. These memos put into stark policy the President’s concerted effort to divide this country and instill panic and fear in immigrant and border communities.”

“Among other things, these memos instruct immigration enforcement officers to categorize any undocumented immigrant in the country as a priority for removal - even if they’ve lived here for decades, are the sole breadwinner for U.S. citizen children, or have any other number of mitigating factors. They expand the ability of immigration enforcement officers to quickly deport people without affording them the right to go before an immigration judge - a move that tramples on the right to due process and virtually guarantees mistakes and failures along the way.”

“Secretary Kelly also orders a massive expansion of immigrant detention at great cost to the American taxpayer, strips privacy protections from anyone who is not a U.S. citizen or green card holder, limits basic protections for unaccompanied children apprehended at the border and reinstates the failed 287(g) program that led to rampant racial profiling and distrust between police and immigrant communities.”

“On behalf of New York’s four million immigrants, the Coalition will resist these actions at every turn and will do everything in our power to protect our communities from them. We call on all people of conscience and our elected officials--including Governor Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio, Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand--to step up and do everything they can to fulfill their promises to protect our fellow foreign-born New Yorkers.”


The New York Immigration Coalition is an umbrella policy and advocacy organization for nearly 200 groups in New York State that work with immigrants and refugees.The NYIC aims to achieve a fairer and more just society that values the contributions of immigrants and extends opportunity to all by promoting immigrants’ full civic participation, fostering their leadership, and providing a unified voice and a vehicle for collective action for New York’s diverse immigrant communities.