Ruling: Immigrants Can Challenge Expedited Removal

Immigrants whose petitions for asylum have been denied after a finding of no credible fear may be able to challenge expedited removal proceedings by filing cases in federal court. The Trump administration has relied on expedited removals to quickly deport immigrants who have come into the country at the southern border. Immigrants who present themselves to border patrol agents after arriving in the U.S. undergo a credible fear examination. If the agent determines that the immigrant does not have a credible fear, the immigrant may appeal the initial determination to an immigration law judge. If the immigration law judges find no credible fear, the immigrants may be deported. While several courts have ruled that immigrants cannot appeal the immigration judge’s ruling, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently ruled otherwise.

Challenges to Expedited Removal

According to the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, asylum seekers have rights to appeal their detentions in federal courts even if they are in an expedited removal process. This ruling could block the Trump administration’s use of expedited removal proceedings as a way to deport people more quickly. However, the impact of the ruling will depend on whether federal judges are willing to grant stays on the removals of appellants.

The decision by the Ninth Circuit means there is a split in the circuits about the constitutionality of the judicial procedures that are used in expedited removal proceedings. The U.S. Supreme Court will likely need to resolve the issue.

Problems With Credible Fear Determinations

When people seek asylum in the U.S., they must pass a credible fear determination. Asylum seekers who express a fear of getting returned to their home countries will undergo a credible fear interview that is conducted by an asylum officer. The asylum seekers are detained while they are waiting for the determination to be made. If the officer determines that people do not have a credible fear, the immigrants may then ask for a review of the decision by an immigration law judge. If the judge rules against them, they can be removed from the U.S. and returned to their home countries. Since immigration law judges are DOJ employees, this means that asylum-seekers who aren’t granted the right to challenge their rulings in federal court may have their due process rights violated.