DHS Wants to Strip Huge Numbers of Immigrants of Their Right to Due Process

Photo: David J. Phillip (AP)

The Trump administration is apparently not content with the human rights abuse against migrants that it’s already committing, so it plans to implement another new policy to bypass immigration courts and unilaterally deport migrants.

The Department of Homeland Security posted a notice in the Federal Register on Monday that enables it to “exercise the full remaining scope of its statutory authority to place in expedited removal” against some migrants. The news was first reported by BuzzFeed on Monday morning; according to the notice, the order was signed on Friday by acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan.

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For those who crossed a land border into the United States, current policy allows immigration officials to use “expedited removal”—i.e., deportation without a hearing before an immigration judge—if the person in question was apprehended within 100 miles of a land border and had only been in the United States for two weeks. Now, the DHS notice posted on Monday asserts under a 1996 anti-immigrant law, expedited removal will be exercised against migrants who “have not affirmatively shown, to the satisfaction of an immigration officer,” that they’ve been in the United States for two years.

The ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project told Politico that it will take the administration to court over the new regulation. “Under this unlawful plan, immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court,” IRP director Omar Jadwat said in a statement.

The move is just the latest in a series of actions by the Trump administration to strip migrants of their constitutional rights; in 2018, for example, the Department of Justice introduced quotas for immigration court judges, an incentive to get through their backlogs as quickly as possible. And even immigration courts themselves are a horrible joke of a functioning legal system; last year, the Texas Tribune reported on toddlers who were expected to represent themselves in immigration court hearings, as no lawyer is provided for migrants facing deportation.

It appears that the Trump administration’s official stance is to ignore human rights by treating migrants as less than human under the law. And from the looks of it, they aren’t going to let up any time soon.

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