Less than two years ago, the Trump administration aggressively stepped up his enforcement agenda by expanding ICE’s Expedited Removal program. Under its expedited removal powers, ICE officers are authorized to practically deport individuals from the US without a judicial hearing before an Immigration Judge. Under Trump, the contours and limits of this power were dramatically increased to essentially allow the government to apply it to any foreign national within the interior of the US who had entered the country illegally and was caught within two years of entry. This past week, however, the Department of Homeland Security published a Notice in the Federal Register rescinding the Trump amendments to this program. Citing the need to prioritize the use of limited resources as well as operational considerations, the administration is scaling back expedited removal to focus on enforcement at the border, as it was originally intended to be and how it was historically used. Under the new—but essentially old—guidelines, expedited removal is limited to recent entrants apprehended in close proximity to the border or its functional equivalent (air and land ports of entry). In general, it should only be used against noncitizens encountered at the border (or its functional equivalent) who have been determined to be inadmissible under INA 212(a)(6)(C) for fraud or willful misrepresentation; or INA 212(a)(7) for lack of valid immigration documents.
Coupled with the DHS’s new memos on enforcement of civil immigration law, the vast majority of foreign nationals with problematic immigration status (but otherwise have clean records and significant ties to the community or equities in the US) are afforded an extra measure of protection against arbitrary enforcement and blanket removal from the US. Now would definitely be a good time to explore one’s situation with a qualified deportation defense attorney to determine how one’s status can be fixed under the current political climate.
The above is general information only. It is not specific legal advice nor intended to create an attorney client relationship. If you need advice, please consult with an attorney.