TRUMP ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCES EXPANDED “EXPEDITED REMOVAL” DEPORTATION AUTHORITY

Written by: Taher Kameli, Esq.

Probably the major limitation on the anti-immigration policies of the Trump administration has been decisions by the Federal judiciary to overturn certain of these policies in court cases.  Therefore, it is not surprising that the Trump administration would try to restrict the ability of judges to review immigration cases. Specifically, on July 22, the Trump administration announced that it will expand its “expedited removal” deportation authority – the ability of immigration officers to deport migrants without them appearing before judges.

In an executive order in January, 2017, President Trump directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to increase the use of “expedited removal”.  Previously, “expedited removal” generally only applied to undocumented immigrants who had been in the United States 14 days or less and were encountered by an immigration officer within 100 miles of the U.S. border.  

Following President Trump’s executive order, DHS has now expanded its “expedited removal” deportation authority to generally more broadly apply to undocumented immigrants who have been in the United States 2 years or less and were encountered by an immigration officer anywhere in the United States.  As described in the Federal Register, “This Notice . . . enables the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to exercise the full remaining scope of its statutory authority to place in expedited removal, with limited exceptions, aliens determined to be inadmissible under sections 212(a)(6)(C) or (a)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA or the Act) who have not been admitted or paroled into the United States, and who have not affirmatively shown, to the satisfaction of an immigration officer, that they have been physically present in the United States continuously for the two-year period immediately preceding the date of the determination of inadmissibility. . . . The Acting Secretary of Homeland Security is exercising his statutory authority through this Notice to designate for expedited removal the following categories of aliens not previously designated: (1) aliens who did not arrive by sea, who are encountered anywhere in the United States more than 100 air miles from a U.S. international land border, and who have been continuously present in the United States for less than two years; and (2) aliens who did not arrive by sea, who are encountered within 100 air miles from a U.S. international land border, and who have been continuously present in the United States for at least 14 days but for less than two years”.

In announcing this new expanded “expedited removal” deportation authority, Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan stated, “The new designation adds one more tool for DHS – utilizing specific authority from Congress – to confront the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis on the Southwest border and throughout the country . . . We are past the breaking point and must take all appropriate action to enforce the law, along the U.S. borders and within the country’s interior.  This designation makes it clear that if you have no legal right to be here, we will remove you”.

This new expanded “expedited removal” deportation authority took effect on July 23. 

Pro-immigration groups reacted adversely to the expanded “expedited removal” deportation authority.  Beth Werlin, executive director of the American Immigration Council, stated, “The Trump administration’s announcement that it plans to dramatically expand expedited removal undermines American principles of fundamental fairness.  Increasing expedited removal across the country is an unprecedented expansion of the Department of Homeland Security’s enforcement authority that will put many people at risk of wrongful deportation. . . . The American Immigration Council will not stand by idly as the Trump administration continues its unlawful attacks on our communities.  We will see the Trump administration in court”.

Both the desire of the Trump administration to avoid litigation of immigration cases by adopting its expanded “expedited removal” deportation authority, and the potential litigation to be filed by the American Immigration Council (and probably other immigration advocacy groups) to challenge the Trump administration’s expanded “expedited removal” deportation authority, show the importance of litigation concerning immigration rights under the Trump administration.  Given the significance of litigation, it is critical that immigrants retain qualified immigration litigation counsel, such as the Law Offices of Kameli and Associates, which has successfully protected immigrant rights for many years. If you have concerns with any immigration issue that may require litigation, please contact the Law Offices of Kameli and Associates, at taher@kameli.com or 312-233-1000, for representation.