Migrant Check-Ins Were Routine. Now They Can Upend Lives.

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For years, it was an uneventful ritual. Unauthorized immigrants who weren’t considered a priority for deportation would meet with an Immigration and Customs Enforcement officer and be told simply, “See you next year.”

The deportation officers, as they are known, were employing prosecutorial discretion, which let them free up resources and detention center space to focus on the deportation of convicted criminals.

Now, under President Trump, the stakes of these meetings have changed. What was routine is now roulette.

Mr. Trump issued an executive order in January broadening the definition of deportable offenses to include all immigrants living in the country illegally. It has affected all levels of enforcement, including the check-in where people wait to go before an immigration judge or appear with pending appeals and petitions or final orders of removal.

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