The Trump administration said Wednesday it is making more undocumented immigrants eligible to be quickly deported without a court hearing, instructing federal immigration agents to oversee the nationwide expansion of a policy that had long been limited to border areas.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is implementing new rules unveiled in July 2019 that allow agents to expand their use of “expedited removal,” a fast-tracked deportation process created by a 1996 law that bars certain immigrants from seeking relief before an immigration judge.
Before the enactment of the new policy, which had been held up in federal court until last month, immigration authorities were only allowed to use expedited removal on immigrants apprehended within 100 miles from an international border who failed to demonstrate they legally entered the country and had been in the U.S. for at least two weeks.
The expansion will apply expedited removal to undocumented immigrants apprehended anywhere in the U.S. if deportation agents determine they have lived in the country for less than two years and were not lawfully paroled or admitted. An immigrant will bear “the affirmative burden to show to the satisfaction of the encountering immigration officer” that he or she is not eligible to be summarily deported.
The Trump administration has said the new expedited removal rules will allow ICE to save funds and resources typically used for long-term detention and help the immigration court system reduce its massive case backlog.
“Our ability to implement this important statutory tool will further enable us to protect our communities and preserve the integrity of our nation’s congressionally mandated immigration laws,” Tony Pham, the senior official performing the duties of the ICE director, said in a statement.
It’s about fucking time.