Two memos proposing stricter deportation guidelines for asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors have been sent from Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to the White House for approval, McClatchy reported Saturday afternoon. The documents are dated Feb. 17 and have yet to receive final go-ahead from the president.
One memo would increase deportations by giving asylum officers greater discretion to deny asylum requests. At present, 88 percent of asylum seekers pass their initial interview with field officers; they then wait in the U.S. for a court hearing (sometimes a multi-year delay), at which point only 18 percent successfully gain asylum. Under the new guidelines, officers would be more likely to deny applicants at the interview stage if they believe the asylum seeker does not have a "significant possibility" of winning in court.
The second memo concerns children who travel to the U.S. alone to meet parents already living here illegally. Those children would be more likely to face deportation, and their parents could face criminal charges if they paid a human trafficker to transport their child.