Effective July 23, 2019, President Trump dramatically expanded Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) authority to remove people from the country without judicial review through a process called “expedited removal.”
September 2019 Update: A judge gave a preliminary injunction to block the expansion of expedited removal. More updates forthcoming.
What is expedited removal, and who did it apply to before this change?
Expedited removal is when low-level immigration officers, without a judicial hearing or order of deportation, quickly deport certain noncitizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation. Expedited removal applies to individuals who are “inadmissible” to the U.S. because they either:
- Lack valid documents showing they were authorized to enter the U.S.
- Committed fraud or misrepresented a material fact to obtain admission, or
- Falsely claimed U.S. citizenship.
Under the old policy, ICE could only use expedited removal for individuals detained within 100 miles of the border and who had been in the country less than 14 days. Under the new policy, ICE can use expedited removal anywhere in the country and for anyone inadmissible and who cannot prove they have been in the country the last two years.
How many people could be deported under ICE’s expanded expedited removal authority?
In the last twelve months, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) estimates ICE detained about 20,000 individuals in the interior of the country who would be eligible for expedited removal under the new policy because they have not been present in the country for at least two years. Immigration advocates fear that this new policy could lead to thousands more deportations and an increase in illegal deportations by ICE.
What are some of the concerns with expedited removal?
The concern with expedited removal is that people, such as those with legitimate asylum claims or those authorized to be in the country, could be illegally deported without judicial review or access to a hearing or attorney. Expedited removal gives the immigration officer unchecked authority to remove someone without due process. The individual believed to be subject to expedited removal has the burden of proving to an immigration official that they have been physically present in the country for two or more years or that they were legally admitted or paroled into the U.S. There is no right to appeal an immigration officer’s decision to deport someone via expedited removal.
Expansion of ICE’s authority to deport through expedited removal increases fear, trauma, and toxic stress in immigrant communities, even for those who should not be subject to expedited removal under the law.
What can you do to protect yourself from expedited removal?
- Know if you are subject to expedited removal. People who are not lawfully admitted to the U.S. and who cannot prove they have been living in the U.S. for more than two years are subject to expedited removal. Expedited removal may not be applied to certain individuals, such as U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents, refugees, asylees, or asylum seekers. People who have been in the country less than one year and express a “credible fear of persecution abroad” should be referred to an asylum officer for a credible fear interview. People who have been continuously present in the U.S. for more than two years are also not subject to expedited removal, regardless of legal status. You should always carry proof with you that you have been in the country for the last two years. Be aware that DHS has not issued guidance on what evidence it will accept as evidence and the immigration officer has sole discretion to decide what is acceptable proof of continuous presence for the past two years.
- Know your rights and make a plan for your family. Visit SC Appleseed’s Know Your Rights resource for information on what to do if you encounter law enforcement in SC. You should also create an emergency family plan to make sure you loved ones and affairs can be handled of you are detained or deported.
Please contact Louise Pocock at [email protected] or 803-779-113 ext. 112 if you would like to do a “Know Your Rights” workshop or other training or legal clinic in your community.