Trump spares young immigrants as he ramps up deportation

US President Donald Trump's administration plans to consider almost all illegal immigrants subject to deportation, but will leave protections in place for immigrants known as "dreamers" who entered the country illegally as children.
US President Donald Trump's administration fleshed out its plans to ramp up immigration enforcement on Tuesday (Feb 21).
US President Donald Trump's administration fleshed out its plans to ramp up immigration enforcement on Tuesday (Feb 21).PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US President Donald Trump's administration fleshed out its plans to ramp up immigration enforcement on Tuesday (Feb 21), saying those who entered the country illegally as children will not have to worry about being deported, though many others will face a crackdown.

The plans follow through on one of Mr Trump's central campaign promises.

Homeland Security officials said the plans will not lead to a mass round-up - but they are already getting a fierce backlash from immigration advocates in countries like Mexico.

Following up on an executive order signed by Mr Trump last month, Homeland Security said it plans to speed up the deportation process, hire thousands of new agents and target more of the 11 million people who are in the country illegally.

White House spokesman Sean Spicer said: "The President is empowering DHS (Department of Homeland Security) to carry out the immigration laws currently on the books."

That's a big change from former President Barack Obama's administration, which focused on deporting hardened criminals and those with ties to terrorist groups.

One group that can breathe easy: the so-called Dreamers who were brought into the country when they were children. They will be allowed to keep their work permits under protections first set up under Mr Obama.

Mr Trump had vowed to get rid of that programme Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) during his campaign, but has softened his stance in recent weeks.