Definition: illegal immigrant

An illegal immigrant is an immigrant who is not lawfully in the country, does not have a green card, does not have a valid visa or document card, and has not applied for immigration or asylum status. This does not mean the human itself is illegal.

Who is targeted

The trump administration will no longer exempt classes or categories of removal aliens from potential enforcement, specifically those with criminal backgrounds and those already ordered deported. The Trump administration has declared an end to the catch and release policy of Illegal Immigration.

Previous to the Trump administration those who awaited a decision could be released until such a decision was made. However, the docket was so overstretched, with more than a half a million cases in immigration court, that illegal immigrants were never recalled. Without the release provision illegal immigrants can be held until a decision is made or they can be sent back to their home country to await a hearing.

Constitutional Guarantees

The courts have decided that the 4th amendment guarantees that all people, are protected from unreasonable search and seizure, but that does not protect them once they are lawfully searched and detained due to criminality. The 5th Amendment ensures that no one faces a capital crime without the selection of a grand jury and that no person can be a witness against him or herself in any criminal case.

Non-citizens are protected by the Fifth Amendment's due process clause but it has not been determined that they are protected otherwise. This clause still needs interpretation by the court.

The 14th Amendment requires states to provide fair procedures which relates to law. It also provides for civil rights for children and adults who are considered illegal immigrants.

This is known as the Equal Protection Clause and it prohibits states from denying any person equal protection and/or prosecution under the law which includes expedited removal.

Expedited removal

20 years ago, Congress passed a law allowing the government to fast-track illegal immigrants back to their home countries without having to face a judge.

The immigrant must meet specific criteria: Fraud or misrepresentation of status, falsely claiming to be a U.S. citizen, does not have a valid unexpired visa or entry document, does not have a valid passport, does not have a valid non-immigrant visa or border crossing card. If these conditions are met the immigrant will face an expedited removal.

Immigration or asylum

Previous Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson argued that family detention centers located at border crossings are a critical tool for screening immigrant families to decide if they have legitimate claims to asylum. However, most refugees and immigrants were sent back to their home countries and denied asylum. Many of them became illegal immigrants into the United States to avoid persecution in their home countries which further complicates the issue.

The children

The Trump administration will use expedited removal exactly as the law allows while advocates vow to challenge the change in court. It is noted, however, that unaccompanied alien children are entitled to special protections and cannot be deported without a legal hearing. In addition, they must be interviewed by an asylum officer. Many children are fleeing failed governments in Central America and must be protected.

The Dreamers

For now, it appears the dreamers will be left alone as long as they do not take part in criminal activity. Once convicted of a crime, dreamers will be expedited back to their home country.

Sanctuary cities

If all of this isn't complicated enough, during President Obama's administration two federal courts declined from establishing a formal program allowing natural born children from undocumented immigrants to remain in the U.S. Does this mean sanctuary cities are illegal?

No. States are free to establish social services to whomever they want. The rest however remains to be seen.