DHS expands power to initiate deportations

The Trump administration has expanded the government’s deportation powers, issuing guidelines urging officers at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — the legal immigration agency — to begin the removal process for people who use fraudulent documents or who illegally took government benefits.

USCIS officers have always had powers to begin deportation proceedings, but in the past had usually referred cases to other parts of Homeland Security for decisions on deportation.

Now, though, the agency is flexing those powers, with guidance memos telling officers to look for instances where they can begin the deportation process for people they deem illegal immigrants.

The memos, dated June 28, tell agency employees to be on the lookout for people who apply for naturalization or other legal immigration benefit but who have criminal records, used bogus documents, lied about their applications or had abused public benefit programs.

In the past those might have been enough