The Trump administration is set to expand the ability to rapidly deport illegal aliens who cannot prove they have been in the U.S. for two years or more, according to a federal filing on Monday.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has submitted a notice in the Federal Register titled “Designating Aliens for Expedited Removal,” but its text will not be published until Tuesday.
The new expanded rules will permit immigration agents to arrest and immediately deport undocumented immigrants with no hearing before a judge, according to reports. Under current rules, illegal aliens who are caught in the U.S. are given a court date that is sometimes as much a year or more later, and simply allowed to remain in the country.
According to a 2004 law, “expedited removal” applies only to aliens arrested within 100 miles of the border and within 14 days of their arrival — often extremely difficult to prove. The new regulations, however, will apply to the entire country, Buzzfeed reported.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) immediately voiced objections to the new plan. “Under this unlawful plan, immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court,” Omar Jadwat, director of the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said in a written statement, Politico reported.
The expansion of expedited removal could enable federal immigration officers to arrest and deport more migrants without adding to an already lengthy immigration court backlog. The courts have a soaring backlog that’s now approaching 1 million cases, according to data from the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.
DHS contends the broader application of the speedy removal process will alleviate strain on federal immigration detention centers.
The Trump administration has made several moves lately to secure the border. Earlier this month, DHS announced a major new crackdown on who can seek asylum in the United States in an effort to limit the number of foreigners who can be eligible to declare they’ve left their home countries in crisis.
The new rule requires most foreigners who want to enter through the U.S. southern border to first seek asylum in one of the countries through which they passed on the way. Many of the people now flooding the border are coming from Central America, meaning they likely pass through several countries on the way to the U.S. If those applications for asylum are rejected, they could then asylum in the United States.
“While the recent supplemental funding was absolutely vital to helping confront the crisis, the truth is that it will not be enough without targeted changes to the legal framework of our immigration system. Until Congress can act, this interim rule will help reduce a major ‘pull’ factor driving irregular migration to the United States and enable DHS and DOJ to more quickly and efficiently process cases originating from the southern border, leading to fewer individuals transiting through Mexico on a dangerous journey,” said Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan.
“Ultimately, today’s action will reduce the overwhelming burdens on our domestic system caused by asylum-seekers failing to seek urgent protection in the first available country, economic migrants lacking a legitimate fear of persecution, and the transnational criminal organizations, traffickers, and smugglers exploiting our system for profits,” he said in a statement.
According to a filing in the Federal Register, the new requirements have three exceptions:
(1) an alien who demonstrates that he or she applied for protection from persecution or torture in at least one of the countries through which the alien transited en route to the United States, and the alien received a final judgment denying the alien protection in such country;
(2) an alien who demonstrates that he or she satisfies the definition of “victim of a severe form of trafficking in persons” provided in 8 C.F.R. § 214.11; or,
(3) an alien who has transited en route to the United States through only a country or countries that were not parties to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, the 1967 Protocol, or the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.