The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced this Friday that it is revoking a rule adopted by the Donald Trump government in 2019 that extended a nationwide expedited deportation program that only applied to undocumented immigrants within 100 miles of the border.
In a notice published in the Federal Register (official US gazette), the department indicated that the expedited removal process focuses not only on people who recently entered the country, but on those who have been in the country longer and have developed ties to their communities.
“In addition, since the use of expanded expedited removal would pose complex new challenges to (DHS’s) workforce, it would increase the risk of avoidable legal challenges to the agency’s enforcement actions,” DHS said.
In September 2019, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office (ICE) activated the rule that allowed its agents to deport any foreigner without legal status who has been in the country for less than two years without a court hearing.
The controversial measure was part of the ‘zero tolerance’ immigration policy of the previous government.
DHS said in the announcement that “the use of expanded expedited removal would pose complex new challenges to the (DHS) workforce and increase the risk of avoidable legal challenges to the agency’s enforcement actions.
While the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides for the expedited removal of “any or all” non-citizens “who arrive in the United States illegally,” in 2019 the Trump administration interpreted the law broadly, saying that the Expedited removal could apply to people anywhere who have been in the country for up to two years.
Organizations that defend the rights of immigrants challenged the rule, pointing out that the accelerated deportation “flecked the due process” of immigration.
The rule was used only a few times in Biden’s first year in office: From Jan. 20 through the end of August, ICE officials only deported four immigrants under it, the Buzzfeed news site reported.
Currently, most people arriving at the border are immediately deported under Title 42, a public health order on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
The change to the program in 2019 gave broad discretion to DHS agents to act with “full authority” and place an alien in expedited removal proceedings, except in rare and limited cases, the rule says.
The target of the measure is all those immigrants “deemed inadmissible under sections 212(a)(6)(C) or (a)(7) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA),” the agency said when the measure was implemented.
Among the main affected are immigrants who were deported and returned to the country without a permit, individuals who have committed serious crimes or have multiple convictions, drug traffickers or involved in terrorist activities, foreigners with a final order of deportation, among other offenses.
According to the ICE memorandum governing the policy, agents “have broad discretion to apply expedited removal in individual cases, or to allow aliens to voluntarily depart or withdraw their applications for admission, and also to place aliens in removal proceedings before an immigration judge.”
The rule is used in raids or when officers encounter aliens who have been arrested by another law enforcement agency for criminal activity. It is also deployed when agents encounter undocumented workers at workplaces targeted for enforcement actions based on investigative leads.
ICE had noted that “in exercising this discretion, agents should not re-examine a determination made prior to July 23, 2019 (when the rule was announced) to place an alien in expedited removal proceedings.”
In the 2019 ICE memorandum, it also points out some relevant factors in which ICE agents can exercise discretion to limit or endure an expedited removal.
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The above text is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Contact our team at 866-837-6806 if you need advice on your own immigration status.