Lower-tier criminals such as drunken drivers and drug dealers aren't the highest priority on the list of people to deport, according to a memo
from Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who outlined guidelines for the nation's immigration officers working to administer President Barack Obama's new executive order for amnesty.
"In general, our enforcement and removal policies should continue to prioritize threats to national security, public safety, and border security," Johnson said in the memo, dated Thursday. "Due to limited resources, DHS and its components cannot respond to all immigration violations or remove all persons illegally in the United States."
Immigration authorities are to seek and deport terror suspects and felons, reports The Washington Examiner
. But lower-level criminals are considered secondary priorities, meaning an illegal immigrant can be in prison for up to a year for a violent crime but still not be considered a primary removal priority.
Overall, Johnson's memo says, there are three priorities for people who are to be detained. The first priority, or people to be sent out of country first, are "aliens engaged in or suspected of terrorism or espionage, or who otherwise pose a danger to national security," says the memo.
Others include people trying to "unlawfully enter" the country. In addition, immigrants convicted of felonies, if the immigrant status is "not an essential element" of the offense, and those convicted of an aggravated felony are to be prioritized for deportation.
The Priority One status immigrants could have their deportations delayed, though, if they qualify for asylum or there are factors showing they are not a threat.
Priority Two offenders, or the second in line for deportation, include people guilty of a "significant misdemeanor" that includes domestic violence or sexual offenders, burglars, people guilty of gun offenses, drug dealers, or drunken drivers. A significant misdemeanor means that the person can be sentenced to a maximum of one year in jail, but not less than five days.
This status also includes "aliens convicted of three or more misdemeanor offenses" other than traffic offenses.
The final priority level describes those who have simply violated immigration laws, and may be allowed to stay if an officer determines they are not a threat to the United States and its laws.
However, even those falling within Priority One designation are not to be targeted for immediate deportation, Johnson says in the memo, as immigration officers are still permitted to determine if there are "compelling and exceptional factors that clearly indicate the alien is not a threat to national security, border security, or public safety and should not therefore be an enforcement priority."
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.