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  • Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, lead a man away from Fresh Mark in Salem, Ohio, on Tuesday.

    Special agents with Homeland Security Investigations, the investigative arm of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, lead a man away from Fresh Mark in Salem, Ohio, on Tuesday. | Photo: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Published 22 July 2019
Opinion

The new law would apply to anyone who crosses the U.S.-Mexico border and cannot prove that they have been living in the country for two years or more.

The United States Department of Homeland Security announced Monday it will order more speedy deportations of undocumented migrants that are caught anywhere in the U.S., expanding a program typically applied only along the southern border with Mexico.

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“Under this unlawful plan, immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court,” said Omar Jadwat, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Immigrants’ Rights Project.

The policy comes after a U.S. Court of Appeals in California in March ruled that those ordered deported in the sped-up process have a right to take their case to a judge. 

The new law, which will go on effect on Tuesday, would apply “expedited removal” to any person who crosses the U.S.-Mexico border and cannot prove to migration agents that they have been living in the country for two years or more.

Previously, only those migrants caught within 160 km of the border who had been in the country two weeks or less could be quickly ordered deported. Now those caught would not have the chance to stand before a migration judge and plead their case. 

“U.S. citizens could be expeditiously removed by error,” Stephen Yale-Loehr, a professor at Cornell Law School said. While the ACLU, which has filed suit to block numerous Trump immigration policies in court, vowed to sue.

In 2018, those in these fast-track proceedings were detained for an average of 11.4 days, according to the DHS, compared to 51.5 days for those in the complete process. The government said increasing rapid deportations would free up detention space and ease strains on migration courts, which face a backlog of more than 900,000 cases.

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