(CNN)-The Department of Homeland Security is set to release guidance on President Donald Trump's immigration and border security executive orders that has sweeping implications for undocumented immigrants in the United States and those seeking to enter in the future.
The memos from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly to agency chiefs, obtained by CNN, are the first step to putting Trump's aggressive immigration policies in place, with provisions that could make substantial changes to how immigration laws are enforced.
The guidance will tighten immigration laws on asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors entering the country and could send individuals awaiting immigration proceedings in the United States back to Mexico.
While the documents do not change anything in the executive orders on border security and interior immigration enforcement that Trump signed during his first week in office, they do explain how the administration plans to put those orders in place, signaling a hard-line position on undocumented immigrants that will please the right wing on immigration policy.
The memos could also further inflame tensions with immigrants, their advocates and Democratic lawmakers who have been highly critical of Immigration and Customs Enforcement's arrests of nearly 700 immigrants nationwide this month. While ICE said 75% of those arrested had criminal records and insisted the "targeted" enforcement was consistent with what the Obama administration had done, the department also said officers who encountered individuals not on the list of targets were given latitude to decide whether they should also be arrested for removal.
Fear in immigrant communities had already been running high based on Trump's pitched rhetoric against illegal immigration on the campaign trail, and only increased during the ICE enforcement actions.
The new guidance makes it more difficult to seek asylum in the US, allows the detention of substantially more undocumented immigrants and gives more authority to immigration officers -- all of which could add up to a huge increase in the number of undocumented immigrants held in detention facilities by the US government.
A department spokeswoman, Gillian Christensen, said she could not confirm the guidance is final and would not comment on documents before they are publicly released, but she did not dispute their contents. The documents have yet to be published and could change before they're officially issued.
The border security guidance expands the use of "expedited removal" proceedings for unauthorized immigrants, allowing them to be deported more quickly with limited court proceedings
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