In August of 2019, the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Immigration Council filed a lawsuit regarding the Trump administration’s effort to expand fast-track deportation procedures. Under the original removal process, individuals could be sent back to Mexico without the involvement of the court system if they were:
- caught within 100 miles of the border; and
- suspected of having illegally crossed it in the past two weeks.
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) decided to remove these conditions in July, in response to Congress’s authorization for more intensive removal of undocumented immigrants. Individuals could essentially be deported if ICE suspected they were illegally in the U.S. for under two years. Theoretically, this change would have three benefits: cutting costs, relieving immigration courts of overwhelming caseloads, and freeing up space in immigration detention centers. But critics say this gives Border Patrol too much power, especially considering many immigrants would not be able to prove they had been in the U.S. for more than two years.
What Did the Judge Decide, and Why?
On September 27th, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of a U.S. District Court blocked the new policy on the grounds that it violated federal law.
The ruling cites the following 5 main reasons backing her decision:
- The change in policy demonstrated arbitrariness and the influence of, as Jackson said, “whims or passions while rulemaking.”
- Further expediting the fast-track deportations does not consider the significant and disruptive effects on immigrants and their families.
- The government needs to protect longtime U.S. residents from unlawful deportation by providing them with a hearing, an attorney, and, if needed, a translator.
- Drastic changes to federal law require formal notice-and-comment procedures, and the officials who changed the fast-track deportation process claimed they had no time to do so. Judge Jackson, however, pointed out that President Trump issued the order to expand fast-track deportations nearly three years ago, thus giving them ample time to follow proper procedure.
- The way the administration tried to change this policy undermined the U.S. government’s “well-established statutory constraints on agency action,” and ultimately shows “contempt for the authority that the Constitution’s Framers have vested in the judicial branch.”
Jackson has blocked the policy change from immediately taking effect while the lawsuit proceeds. Even though this is a temporary ruling, critics of the attempted policy see this is a victory for human rights, especially in light of mistakes Border Patrol has made in the attempt to deport undocumented immigrants.
Get in Touch Today for More Information or Skilled Representation
If you would like to learn more about the attempted policy change and Judge Jackson’s decision, read Politico’s full article here. If you need information about your rights as an immigrant, or you are currently facing the threat of deportation, Guerra Sáenz, PL provides personalized legal support as you assert your rights and pursue your immigration goals.Contact our law firm at (888) 936-3228 to get started on your case today.