The Trump administration is speeding up deportations of undocumented immigrants who cannot prove they have been in the United States for at least two years. The new fast-track process allows federal agents to bypass judges. This appears to be the latest measure designed to deter migrants from applying for asylum in the United States.
Reporter Mallory Falk with KERA in North Texas says the administration’s new policy takes a rule commonly used in the border region, and applies it nationwide. The rule used to only apply to migrants who are apprehended within 100 miles of the border: they could be deported without an immigration hearing.
“What this does is it removes this 100-mile zone,” Falk says. “Now, immigrants anywhere in the United States are subject to this fast-track deportation process.”
Falk says the previous rule also only applied to immigrants apprehended two weeks or less after crossing the border. The new rule applies to those who have been in the country up to two years.
To prove that an immigrant has been in the country more than two years, Falk says one El Paso attorney advises clients to carry documents that prove residence.
“That can include rent receipts, mortgage receipts, bills, school or work records and marriage certificates or children’s birth certificates,” Falk says.
But Falk says there’s no guarantee that presenting these documents will prevent deportation under the new policy. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, agents have ultimate discretion. Falk says immigration advocates and attorneys are concerned that people could be erroneously deported.
“Not everyone carries rent receipts going back two years at all times,” Falk says. “And so, because, under expedited removal, you don’t have the right to an attorney, and you don’t have a hearing in front of an immigration judge, there’s a lot of fear that people who don’t actually qualify for this expanded process will be deported. And once you’re deported, you don’t have a right to appeal.”
Falk says the expedited removal procedure will almost certainly be challenged in court.
Written by Shelly Brisbin.