Weirdly, the New York Times reports that DHS officials insisting on anonymity confirmed that detail (although it’s not clear why DHS officials speaking on a conference call were allowed to be anonymous), with the proviso that non-Mexican nationals wouldn’t be sent to Mexico all that often:

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity during a morning conference call, stressed that some of the proposals for increased enforcement will roll out slowly as the department finalizes the logistics and legal rules for more aggressive action.

In particular, the officials said that returning Central American refugees to Mexico to await hearings would be done only in a limited fashion, and only after discussions with the government of Mexico, which would most likely have to agree to accept the refugees.


The new guidelines will, at least, not affect people protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Nonetheless, immigration rights groups are still furious and frightened. Javier H. Valdés is the co-Executive Director of Make the Road New York, which advocates for immigrants and working-class, primarily Latino communities in the city. He issued a statement calling the new guidelines “morally bankrupt:”

“These memos confirm what we’ve long feared—that General Kelly is an eager accomplice to President Trump’s anti-immigrant crusade. The DHS plans signal a morally bankrupt effort to tear immigrants from their families without due process. Their implementation will also jeopardize the safety of all by reducing trust in local law enforcement by turning local officers into immigration enforcement deputies. And the provision to punish parents for trying to reunite their families is truly reprehensible. Immigrant communities and our allies will resist these policies. We are here to stay.”


According to the Washington Post, Trump officials are somehow hoping the new rules won’t set off fear and panic in immigrant communities, saying they’re not meant to trigger mass deportations (even though they provide a legal and structural framework for mass deportations). The same anonymous DHS officials quoted by the New York Times assured everyone that this whole thing will be handled very sensitively, and besides, the department doesn’t currently have enough staff for mass deportations anyway:

“We do not need a sense of panic in the communities,” a DHS official said in a conference call with reporters to formally release the memos to the public.

“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,” said the official, who was joined on the call by two others, all of whom spoke on condition of anonymity to answer questions. “This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations.”


“We will treat everyone humanely and with dignity,” the official added, per the Post. “But we’re going to execute the laws of the United States.”

You can read a Q&A from the Department of Homeland Security here on how the new rules will be enforced.