What you need to know about Trump's new criteria for targeting illegals - and the potential fear for Irish in US
President Trump broadens criteria for targeting illegals
There are fears for thousands of Irish living in the US after new guidelines on illegal immigrants were released by the Trump administration.
1. What does it mean?
President Trump broadened the criteria so that any illegal immigrant who is even suspected of a crime, in addition to those who have been charged or convicted of any crime, will be actively pursued.
Even those suspected of traffic violations could be targeted for deportation.
This will mean the vast majority of the 11 million illegals living in the US are now at risk of deportation.
Under Barack Obama, the department of homeland security only actively targeted people who had been convicted of serious crimes or were considered threats to national security for deportation.
This move will instil fear in the some 50,000 illegal Irish immigrants living in the US.
President Trump has also signalled in the past he will attempt to crack down on so-called 'sanctuary cities', where illegal immigrants are sheltered from deportation.
2. Will this mean 'mass round-ups'?
While the administration says those accused of crimes will be "the first to go", the reforms mean that nearly all of the 11 million illegal immigrants residing in the US could be liable for immediate deportation if authorities decided to enforce the new guidelines.
The department of homeland security sought to stem the rising fear of looming "mass roundups" of illegal immigrants, saying: "We do not need a rise of panic in the communities."
The official, who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity, said: "We do not have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing folks on buses. That's entirely a figment of folks' imagination.
"This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations."
3. Are there any exceptions?
The only group shielded from deportation will be so-called "dreamers", those who were brought to the US as children but who do not have citizenship.
"We're going to try and take care of the Dreamers very, very much," Mr Trump said yesterday.
The plan will also allow for expedited deportations for people who have been in the country for less than two years, regardless of where they live.
Under Mr Obama, only those in the country for two weeks or less and living within 100 miles of the border were subject to expedited deportation.
That change will translate to new protocols for local law enforcement all across the country.
Another change is that immigration enforcement agents can now deport those caught crossing the border directly to Mexico regardless of their nationality.
4. Anything else?
The new policies are likely to lead to a substantial increase in deportations, but will require additional funds from Congress to be fully implemented.
They included the creation of an office to help those affected by crimes committed by illegal immigrants, with the stipulation that "any and all resources that are currently used to advocate on behalf of illegal immigrants" be transferred to that office.
Mr Trump also responded yesterday to a spate of threats made against Jewish centres across the country.
He said: "The anti-Semitic threats targeting our Jewish community and community centres are horrible and are painful and a very sad reminder of the work that still must be done to root out hate and prejudice and evil."