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Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde January 25, 2017

Trump signs executive order to increase ICE deportation officers

Five days after his inauguration, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to increase the number of immigration officers, a move that's in line with one of his top campaign promises.

Trump's executive order directs the secretary of homeland security, through the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to "take all appropriate action to hire 10,000 additional immigration officers, who shall complete relevant training and be authorized to perform the law enforcement functions described in section 287 of the INA (8 U.S.C. 1357)."

Powers vested in that section of the Immigration and Nationality Act include the ability to arrest an individual who is entering or attempting to enter the United States illegally and to question individuals as to their right to be in the country.

ICE, an agency within the Department of Homeland Security, has about 20,000 employees, including an estimated 5,800 deportation officers who identify, apprehend and remove deportable immigrants.

Trump's promise is to triple the number of ICE deportation officers, and by adding 10,000 officers it gets pretty close to tripling the number.

On Jan. 25, Trump told immigration enforcement employees that his executive orders (he also signed an executive order to build a wall on U.S.-Mexico border) will empower ICE officers "to target and remove those who pose a threat to public safety, calls for the hiring of another 5,000 border patrol officers, calls for the tripling of the number of ICE officers."

"And you both do an incredible job, but you need help, you need more," Trump said.

The executive orders signed Jan. 25 say the additional hirings shall be carried out to the extent permitted by law and subject to the availability of appropriations.

Pending funding and hiring, we rate this promise In the Works.


Miriam Valverde
By Miriam Valverde January 20, 2017

More officers means more money needed

One of President Donald Trump's most polarizing talking points during the campaign was the deployment of a deportation force to remove people living in the country illegally.

An estimated 11 million people don't have legal permission to be in the United States. About 742,000 people who came to the country when they were minors were temporarily protected from deportation under a deferred action program introduced by President Barack Obama's administration. During his presidential campaign, Trump promised to eliminate that program, but expressed a more sympathetic tone during an interview with Time magazine that published after the Nov. 8 election.

While Trump's comments on deportations have often been vague, he has frequently declared his determination to deport millions, particularly criminals.

"We are going to triple the number of [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] deportation officers," Trump said during an immigration speech in Arizona in 2016. "Within ICE, I am going to create a new special Deportation Task Force, focused on identifying and removing quickly the most dangerous criminal illegal immigrants in America who have evaded justice.


During the presidential campaign, Trump branded himself as a law-and-order candidate whose administration would strictly adhere to and follow the law.

Trump has emphasized his desire to remove immigrants in the country illegally who have been convicted of crimes, saying they've killed thousands of Americans.

"Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens," Trump said July 2016 at the Republican National Convention.


The Department of Homeland Security would need to allocate its financial resources, appropriated by Congress, toward the funding for the additional ICE employees.

Trump's priority removals, especially for criminals, mirror the ones under Obama's administration.

People who are criminals, gang members, security threats, who have overstayed their visas, recent illegal arrivals and "those relying on public welfare or straining the safety net" are among Trump's enforcement priorities.


Trump has not provided estimates of how much would be needed for ICE staffing increases and for the special deportation task force.

ICE receives about $6 billion a year and agency-wide employs about 20,000 people.

In fiscal year 2016, ICE removed 240,255 individuals, 58 percent of them were previously convicted of a crime, according to the agency.


Trump as president would have discretion to set removal priorities and to decide how to best deploy the finite immigration enforcement resources appropriated by Congress, said Stephen Legomsky, professor emeritus at Washington University School of Law in St. Louis and a former chief counsel at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

"He would not need any further congressional action to change the existing priorities, and he could plausibly announce those priorities on his first day in office if he and his team are ready to do so," Legomsky said.


Trump's promise to triple ICE's deportation officers depends on funding from Congress. The president submits a budget to Congress in February. Based on the 1974 Congressional Budget Act, the deadline for the final adoption of the budget resolution is April 15, though final agreements may come later, notes a report from the Congressional Research Service. The upcoming fiscal year starts Oct. 1, 2017.

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