Bernice Yeung writes in Reveal:
. . . .
“A Pennsylvania judge and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a branch of the Department of Homeland Security, have decided that V.G. deserves to stay in the United States.
But another arm of department, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, says he must go. And, under what’s known as “expedited removal,” immigration officials can skip the traditional removal process in front of immigration judges.
Instead, officials are given wide latitude to deport migrants under expedited removal, if those migrants are captured within 100 miles of the U.S. border, have been in the country for less than two weeks and don’t have valid travel documents.
Under this deportation regime, the U.S. government has freedom to deport migrants like V.G. and his mother – who were found soon after they crossed the border without immigration papers – with little due process and limited ways for migrants to contest the order.
President Barack Obama made wide use of the policy, and President Donald Trump favors expanding it further.
Created in 1996, the expedited removal policy has been controversial since the start. Those who seek to tighten the borders laud the policy for its efficiency and for promoting deterrence. But immigrant and asylum advocates say that it lacks checks and balances and gives too much discretion to border patrol agents.
But it’s a policy susceptible to errors without a meaningful process to correct them.
Once an immigration official has placed a migrant into expedited removal, there are few ways to contest it. People who can show they are authorized to live in the country are able to challenge expedited removal in federal court. Asylum-seekers also have a chance to make a case that they have a fear of returning to their home countries, but they cannot appeal an unfavorable decision.
Everyone else is returned to their home countries as quickly as possible. They are then barred from returning to the United States for five years.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, which has observed expedited removal proceedings since 2005, has found “serious flaws placing asylum seekers at risk of return to countries where they could face persecution.” The ACLU has also documented a case of an asylum-seeker who was quickly deported, only to be raped after she was sent back across the southern border.
Multiple U.S. citizens have been accidentally deported through expedited removal. Foreign workers and tourists with valid visas have also been turned away, prompting a judge to write in a 2010 decision that the expedited removal process is “fraught with risk of arbitrary, mistaken, or discriminatory behavior.”
Nonetheless, various courts across the country have agreed that the law is clear: The courts cannot intercede in expedited removal cases, even if there’s a reason to believe the outcome was unjust.
This has put kids like V.G. in legal limbo, stuck between two competing government mandates. They have a special status to stay in the United States. At the same time, the Department of Homeland Security says it has the authority to deport them.
Immigration officials declined to comment on pending litigation. But in court documents filed in V.G.’s case, the government says the children’s deportation orders are final and their special status doesn’t change things, especially since they have not yet received their green cards.
V.G.’s attorneys argue, among other things, that a federal court has previously required the government to revisit the deportation orders of children once they’re granted the humanitarian status.
That requirement, they say, also extends to expedited removal cases.”
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In addition to being bad policy, this clearly isn’t due process! It’s time for Federal Judges get out of the ivory tower and start enforcing the requirements of our Constitution! Assuming that recent arrivals apprehended at the border with no claim to stay in the U.S. might not get full judicial review (a proposition that I question), these kids are different, having been approved for green cards and merely waiting in line of a number to become available in the near future. In the past, the policy of the DHS has invariably been to allow such individuals to remain in the U.s. pending availability of a visa number — even when that process might take years.
Thanks much to Nolan Rappaport for spotting this item and forwarding it to me!