Constitutional Law

Next big immigration legal battle will likely be over fast-track deportations

  • Print.

immigration law

Stand by for constitutional challenges to the Trump administration’s plan for expanding expedited removal of immigrants in the country illegally.

The challenges will likely become the next major legal battle over immigration, the Los Angeles Times reports. The expansion could affect far more people than those impacted by President Trump’s temporary travel ban, “including potentially most of the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States,” the article reports.

Immigrants who are deported through the expedited removal process do not get a hearing before an immigration judge. The Obama administration had confined such removals to those picked up near the border who had been in the country illegally for less than two weeks. The idea was that people who had just entered the country illegally had no legal rights, outside perhaps of the right to request asylum.

In a Feb. 20 memo, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly proposed expanding expedited removals to anyone who has been in the country illegally for less than two years, in any part of the country.

Civil liberties advocates view the expansion as a violation of due process that is available to immigrants who have been living within the country. But experts contacted by the Los Angeles Times differed on what protections will be required by due process. Some believe a full adversarial hearing before an immigration judge is required, while others claim Congress provided for due process in the expedited removal procedure.

It’s a gray area, according to University of California at Los Angeles law professor Hiroshi Motomura. “It’s possible that a court might find that a full immigration court hearing isn’t constitutionally required,” he said. But it is also possible “that a single field agent making the decision is constitutionally deficient.”

Related articles: “ABA urges Supreme Court to hear case about due process in ‘expedited’ deportation” “ABA questions immigration orders, praises lawyers who swarmed airports to help”

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.