Federal Judge Blocks Fast Track Deportations

Tyra Hilliard
Staff Writer


The idea of fast-track deportation, produced by the Trump administration, has been shot down by a federal judge. This type of deportation has been used for immigrants that are undocumented and deports them without their case being seen in  immigration court.

“Expedited removal” is the name that the notion was given and it has been used before. The rules of this effort is that any immigrant who crosses into the United States via land and is arrested in less than two weeks of arrival and within 100 miles of the border in which they crossed, is immediately returned to their home country. Most recently, in July, the rules expanded to involve any undocumented immigrant who cannot prove their continued residency for over two years or more in the United States of America, regardless of how far away they are from their crossing point. 

On Sept. 27, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson released a 126-page exposition on the policy change made in July. She said that Trump’s administration forwent the processes of correct decision-making, including the required period of the formal notice-and-comment period; which is essential for any large scale federal rule amendments. She also stated that the administration “likely violated federal law” because of their incomplete procedure. 

“No good cause exists for the agency to have not complied with these mandates in this instance,” wrote Jackson. 

Appointed by Obama, Jackson added that the notice given by the Department of Homeland Security came across as, “arbitrary and capricious”. 

“Put in common parlance, if a policy decision that an agency makes is of sufficient consequence that it qualifies as an agency rule, then arbitrariness in deciding the contours of that rule—e.g., decision making by Ouija board or dart board, rock/paper/scissors, or even the Magic 8 Ball—simply will not do,” wrote Jackson. “There are well-established legal constraints on the manner in which an agency exercises its discretion to make discretionary policy decisions, and there are also legally established consequences if an agency does not adhere to these procedural requirements when it determines the policies that it imposes.”

The Department of Homeland Security stood firm in their belief that the change in policy would alleviate the pressures on immigration courts and blend the rules for undocumented immigrants who arrive by land or by sea into a single ruling. 

“The effect of that change will be to enhance national security and public safety — while reducing government costs — by facilitating prompt immigration determinations,” said the notice.

“We are past the breaking point and must take all appropriate action to enforce the law, along the U.S. borders and within the country’s interior. This designation makes it clear that if you have no legal right to be here, we will remove you,” announced Kevin McAleenan, acting Secretary of Homeland Security when the new policy went into effect. 

Many organizations including The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Immigration Council and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP went after a preliminary injunction. 

“The court rejected the Trump administration’s illegal attempt to remove hundreds of thousands of people from the U.S. without any legal recourse.This ruling recognizes the irreparable harm of this policy,”  said Anand Balakrishnan, an ACLU attorney who argued the case.

“Congress expressly authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security to act with dispatch to remove from the country aliens who have no right to be here. The district court’s decision squarely conflicts with that express grant of authority and vastly exceeds the district court’s own authority. This ruling undermines the laws enacted by Congress and the Trump Administration’s careful efforts to implement those laws,” said a Department of Justice spokesman in a response given on Sept. 28.

The carrying out of a preliminary injunction halts the “expedited removal” policy from being used until all investigations are finished. 

Categories: News

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