The expedited removal process gives immigration officers nearly unchecked power to deport certain immigrants that they encounter within 100 miles of the border with Canada or Mexico if the immigrants have been in the U.S. for fewer than 14 days. The number of people who have been deported through expedited removal has soared since it was first passed by Congress. Since Trump encouraged Immigration and Customs Enforcement to use it even more the numbers are likely to climb higher.
What Is Expedited Removal?
Expedited removal is a process that was first introduced in 1996. It allows low-level immigration officers to deport certain immigrants without giving them any due process protections such as a hearing before an immigration law judge. The officers are able to question undocumented immigrants that they encounter within 100 miles of the border. If the officers determine that they have entered the country illegally and have been in the U.S. for fewer than 14 days, they can immediately deport them. The immigrants are detained until they are deported and do not have access to lawyers.
Why Expedited Removal Is a Problem
Expedited removal is a problem for multiple reasons. The immigration officers may fail to refer asylum seekers to asylum officers and may send them back to danger in their home countries. There have also been cases in which lawful permanent residents and U.S. citizens have been erroneously deported. Some undocumented immigrants may have valid claims to remain in the U.S. that they are unaware that they have such as being the victim of a crime or a witness to a crime.
Some immigration officers have reportedly pressured undocumented immigrants into agreeing to expedited removal. The people may not be able to contact attorneys or family members.
Expanding Use of Expedited Removals
The use of expedited removals had expanded dramatically even before Trump took office. In 2013, which is the most recent year for which data is available, 193,000 people were deported under the expedited removal process. This was 44 percent of the total number of people who were deported during that year. With the Trump Administration’s hardline immigration stance, it is likely that the numbers have climbed even higher. It is likely that many people who have asylum claims or other claims to remain have been deported without ever having the chance to present them to the courts.