U.S. to expand rapid deportation nationwide with sweeping new rule

Posted July 24, 2019

The Trump administration announced on Monday that it plans to expand its use of the "expedited removal" deportation, in which immigration officials deport immigrants without a hearing before an immigration judge, for immigrants anywhere in the USA who can not immediately prove to an immigration officer that they have been in the US for two years.

The change casts a wider net of undocumented immigrants subject to the fast-track deportation procedure known as "expedited removal", which allows immigration authorities to remove an individual without a hearing before an immigration judge. Many immigrants in deportation proceedings are released and allowed to live in the United States for the months and years it takes to decide their immigration cases.

The rule now only applies for people apprehended along the southern border with Mexico or at a port of entry who can not prove they have been in the US for more than 14 days.

Under the new rules, migrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States continuously for more than two years can be immediately deported.

A group of students activists plan to hold an event in protest of the Trump administration's immigration policies on Friday, July 26 in front of the Benton County Courthouse in Corvallis, from 11 am until noon.

The move to expand expedited removals comes as backlogs in immigration courts continue to grow.

In fiscal year 2018, the notice said, ICE encountered 20,570 immigrants who would have been eligible for expedited removal under the new rules.

Citing Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan's "sole and unreviewable discretion", the notice declares that a more expansive eligibility for expedited removal is necessary "in light of the ongoing crisis at the southern border, the large number of aliens who entered illegally and were apprehended and detained within the interior of the United States, and DHS's insufficient detention capacity both along the border and in the interior of the United States".

"U.S. citizens could be expeditiously removed by error", he said. "We will sue to end this policy quickly".

"Expanding the fast-track procedure to apply anywhere in the U.S.is a recipe for ripping thousands more families apart and devastating communities", said Grace Meng, Human Rights Watch's US program acting deputy director. "The plan is unlawful". Judge Timothy Kelly in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia withheld ruling on whether to issue a temporary restraining order to block the rule on asylum seekers pending a trial, saying he would make that decision soon.

The expansion of the expedited removal program follows two separate recent threats from President Donald Trump that ICE would begin immigration raids in major cities across the United States.

"I am surprised it took so long", said Theresa C. Brown, the director of immigration and cross-border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center, who served in the Homeland Security Department under previous administrations.

The new policy would modify these restrictions, opening up millions of additional immigrants to expedited removal.