White House press secretary Sean Spicer denied on Tuesday that mass deportation is one of the goals of new guidelines from President Donald Trump’s administration targeting immigrants who are living in the United States illegally.
“On immigration, on the DHS memos,” ABC’s Cecilia Vega asked during Spicer’s daily press briefing. “Is one of the goals here mass deportation?”
“No,” Spicer replied.
“Not at all?” Vega pressed.
“This isn’t — look, what we have to get back to is understanding a couple of things,” Spicer said. “What the order sets out today is, ensures that the million or so people that have been adjudicated already, that I.C.E. prioritizes, creates a system of prioritization and makes sure that we walk through that system in a way that protects this country.”
He said that it is “consistent” with Trump’s stated positions on immigration and national security.
“All this does is lay out the exact procedures to make sure that that subgroup of people who pose a threat to our nation because of a conviction or a violation of public safety or have a criminal record are adjudicated first and foremost,” Spicer said. “That’s it. Plain and simple.”
Memos from the Department of Homeland Security released on Tuesday contained new guidelines greatly expanding the number of people living in the United States illegally who are considered a priority for deportation.
The memos eliminated guidelines from President Barack Obama’s administration that focused immigration enforcement on those convicted of serious crimes or considered to be a threat to national security.
The new guidelines call for immigrants to be deported if they are convicted, charged or suspected of a “chargeable criminal offense,” a category which includes illegal entry to the United States.