The Trump Administration is reportedly considering granting the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) the authority to expand the class of aliens that can be deported on an expedited basis. If implemented, the policy would accelerate deportations for a larger category of illegal aliens.
The Washington Post reported on Friday that it obtained a 13-page draft memo from DHS that proposes foregoing the immigration court process for illegal immigrants who cannot prove that they have been in the United States for more than 90 days. The policy of expedited removals under the George W. Bush Administration applied only to illegal immigrants apprehended within 100 miles of the border and in the country for less than 14 days.
The change of policy would not require congressional action.
The Post reported that officials disseminated the memo throughout the White House in May and that DHS is looking at feedback it received from the Office of Management and Budget.
Although those who spoke to the Post did so on the condition of anonymity, a DHS spokeswoman, Joanne F. Talbot, emphasized that the memo is a draft and has not yet been approved by Homeland Security Secretary John F. Kelly.
Talbot added that “Anyone who is surprised that the administration is considering lawfully expanding the use of expedited removal has not been paying attention.”
“The expansion you describe is explicitly allowed” under existing federal law, she stated.
The agency spokeswoman told the Post, “The potential changes would allow DHS to more efficiently use resources to remove persons who have been illegally present for relatively brief periods of time while still observing due-process requirements.” The expanded use of expedited removals could also lead to a reduction in the backlog in immigration courts.
These courts became swamped with processing the thousands of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), Family Unit Aliens (FMUA), and other illegal border crossers that have been crossing the borders in massive numbers since 2014. Those numbers peaked in October and November as illegal immigrants rushed across the border in anticipation of the presidential election, Breitbart Texas reported.
According to DHS officials, the expedited removals would not apply to the unaccompanied minors.
As of January 1, 2017, immigration courts had more than 534,000 pending removal cases, the Post stated. In 2004 the number of backlogged cases stood at 168,000. In November 2004, then-President George W. Bush put more restrictive policies in place that limited expedited removals and court backlogs began to increase.
Unsurprisingly, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center, an open border advocate, denounced the potential change as “a radical departure from current policy and practice” that discards due process rights, the Post reported.
The DHS memo reportedly stated that those illegally in the country would still be allowed to claim a credible fear of persecution or torture. An asylum officer makes a determination if their fear is credible and if so, refers the immigrant to an immigration judge.
Shortly after his election last November, Human Rights Watch sent President-elect Donald Trump a letter which among other things charged that “Expanding the flawed expedited removal mechanism to carry out deportations more rapidly, for example, would cause enormous damage to due process and risk numerous wrongful deportations.”
President Trump’s January 25 executive order called for ending the Obama Administration’s catch and release policy and speeding up deportations. The president has been clear that he intends to crack down on those who are illegally in the country and has promised to implement pro-American policies – including policies that target threats to American jobs.
Immigration experts and those who support putting the brakes to illegal and legal immigration, were thrilled when the Trump Administration recently announced it was putting an end to Obama’s DAPA (Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents) program, reported Breitbart Texas. The program would have given approximately five million illegal aliens amnesty and granted them work permits.
In April, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said while on ABC’s This Week television show that “everyone that enters the country unlawfully is subject to being deported.”
The Post reported in February that DHS officials were considering revoking prior administrations’ policies limiting expedited removals to those apprehended within 100 miles of the border and who had been in the country less than two weeks. Doing so would restore the full effect of the law implemented during the Bush Administration that allowed expedited removals for any illegal alien in the country that could not prove at least two years of residency.
The memo, signed by Secretary Kelly, would also allow Border Patrol agents to resume the practice of returning Mexican immigrants to their home country immediately after being caught crossing the border illegally.
Another provision under consideration at that time provided for prosecution of parents in the United States that were found to have paid cartel smugglers to bring their children across the border.
DHS officials told the Post they hoped the increase in expedited removals would act as one more deterrent to those considering crossing the border illegally.
Officials demonstrated another deterrent factor this week when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials announced the prosecution of 565 first-time border crossers, Breitbart Texas reported.
Tucson Sector officials reinstated the program of prosecuting first-time offenders on June 1. During the first thirty days of the reinstated program, officials forwarded 565 illegal aliens to prosecutors for action.
Officials said the purpose of the new prosecutions is to add yet another risk factor in the alien’s calculation to break American law.