Donald Trump's administration is creating a larger force for enforcement of immigration laws even as it proposes to protect immigrants known as "dreamers" who entered the country illegally as children.
Trump, who won the election with his focus on rooting out illegal migration and saving Americans' jobs, is creating more than 15,000 new immigration enforcement, border control and judicial posts to thwart "illegal aliens".
The new homeland security plan announced on Wednesday (NZT) by the Trump administration replaces the earlier lenient enforcement guidelines of previous administrations by stronger and focused regulation.
The new rules, however, face the criticism of widening the criteria of detention and deportation of immigrants, estimated at around 11 million – a policy enunciated in some of Trump's wildest campaign rhetoric.
Trump is empowering Homeland Security to administer the law, according to White House spokesman Sean Spicer, but, he said there would not be any mass round-ups.
"That's entirely a figment of folks' imagination. This is not intended to produce mass roundups, mass deportations," a Reuters report quoted the official as saying
"We don't need a sense of panic in the communities – we don't have the personnel, time or resources to go into communities and round up people and do all kinds of mass throwing [of] folks on buses," reports quoting another unnamed official as saying.
The announcement was more of a signal of gratitude to voters who backed him on a key issue – illegal or undocumented migrants stealing American's jobs, engage in the most egregious crime and sucking dry state and federal welfare and aid programmes.
Trump, however, seems to have stopped short of driving out the so-called illegal immigrants, those who were brought to the US as children, and the undocumented parents of children born here, who are citizens of the US.
Even under the Obama rules serious criminals were thrown out and their numbers were significant – a record 434,000 in 2013, and a lesser tally of 333,000 in the wake of more leniency in 2015.
Despite his rhetoric, Trump concedes that all immigrants from Mexico are not criminals: "They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."