The Trump administration is broadly expanding its power to deport undocumented immigrants. This new strategy allows immigration officials to deport immigrants within two years of illegal entry without court hearings. Officials claim this is necessary due to the influx of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
This fast-track deportation process takes the hardline immigration positions of the Trump administration to new levels. The expedited removal process is no longer only applicable to migrants who get caught within 100 miles of border within two weeks of entry. Now, immigrants who illegally enter the U.S. may face quick removal for up to two years, no matter their location within the country. The two-year time limit comes from a 1996 federal law authorizing the fast-track removal process. Approximately 300,000 of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants may be subject to this new removal method.
Administration officials claim this new policy will reduce the number of illegal immigrants, improve national security and ensure the swift removal of undocumented immigrants. But it is not coming without pushback. Many immigration lawyers claim this unprecedented expansion of power is unlawful. The claim is that everyone has the right to talk to a lawyer and go before a judge. But this new rule gives low-level immigration agents the authority to issue deportation orders without due process. Detractors warn that this policy may end up putting legal residents and U.S. citizens at risk.
The change in policy does not apply to immigrants with pending immigration court dates or asylum cases. Additionally, asylum officers will interview subjects of removal who fear going back to their home countries to figure out whether they qualify for asylum or other protections. Officials also claim they are ready to make exceptions for immigrants with significant connections to the U.S. and those with serious medical conditions. Unaccompanied minors from non-bordering nations are not subject to fast-track removal.