The Trump administration plans to give immigration officials the authority to quickly deport tens of thousands of immigrants — without due process.
The administration plans on expanding “expedited removals,” a speedy deportation process in which migrants aren’t entitled to a hearing before an immigration judge, according to a notice that will be published in the federal register on Tuesday.
The new rule will apply to all unauthorized immigrants who can't prove they've been in the U.S. for at least two continuous years.
This is a massive shift from the current policy, under which anyone caught by immigration authorities within two weeks of their arrival in the U.S. can be quickly deported this way, provided they were found within 100 miles of the border and aren’t claiming asylum. The so-called “100-mile border zone” includes New York City, Los Angeles, and the entire state of Florida. More than 65% of the total U.S. population — and around 75% of the total Hispanic population — lives within this zone, according to a 2018 analysis by CityLab.
The Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There are some exceptions, including unaccompanied children.
“Now, if ICE believes someone is undocumented and has lived in the U.S. for less than two years—with the burden on the immigrant to prove otherwise — they can deport that person within days, with almost no court review allowed,” Aaron Reichlin-Melnick, a policy analyst at the American Immigration Council, wrote on Twitter.
The Migration Policy Institute, a nonpartisan immigration think tank, estimates that 297,000 unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. could be subject to expedited removal under the new policy.
But the new policy won’t just apply to people who have arrived in the United States relatively recently. Anyone who has “not affirmatively shown to the satisfaction of an immigration officer” that they’ve been in the U.S. for two continuous years will be subject to expedited removal. In other words, it can apply to immigrants who have been in the U.S. for longer than two years but can’t provide immediate proof.
In the past, these immigrants would have been referred to Immigration and Customs Enforcement and given a deportation hearing before a judge. But now they could be subject to near-instantaneous deportation, with no opportunity to argue their case.
Correction: A previous version of this post misrepresented the locations in which immigrants could will be subject to expedited removals.
Cover: In this July 8, 2019, file photo, a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officer looks on during an operation in Escondido, Calif. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)