On Feb. 21, President Donald Trump's administration released guidelines tightening enforcement of immigration and making deportation protocol more aggressive.
The move came one day before administration officials were set to meet with Mexico for bilateral talks.
"I want to say clearly and emphatically that the government of Mexico and the Mexican people do not have to accept provisions that one government unilaterally wants to impose on the other," Luis Videgaray, Mexico's Foreign Minister, said on Feb. 22, Reuters notes.
"We will not accept it, because there's no reason why we should, and because it is not in the interests of Mexico," Videgaray added, according to The Hill.
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In a memo released on Feb. 21, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly wrote: “The faithful execution of our immigration laws is best achieved by using all these statutory authorities to the greatest extent practicable. Accordingly, department personnel shall make full use of these authorities," The New York Times reports.
"I think the relationship with Mexico is phenomenal right now," White House press secretary Sean Spicer` told reporters on Feb. 22, according to Reuters.
A fact sheet released by DHS says enforcement officials have been directed to seek deportation for anyone illegally in the U.S.
“Under this executive order, [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] will not exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement,” notes DHS, according to The New York Times. “All of those present in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention, and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States.”
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Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, warned against the new enforcement codes, stating, “When you tell state and local police that their job is to do immigration enforcement, it translates into the unwarranted and illegal targeting of people because of their race, because of their language, because of the color of their skin."