U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has recently begun to expedite the deportations of certain immigrants without providing them a hearing before an immigration judge. This is done through expanded use of a process called “expedited removal,” which allows for the immediate removal of undocumented people who have been in the United States for less than 2 years.
Expedited removals had usually been reserved only for people arrested at or near the border, or who had been in the United States for less than two weeks. However, in July of 2019, the Trump administration indicated that it would begin utilizing expedited removals for anyone it could apply to. This means that undocumented people who have been in the United States for less than two years at the time that ICE encounters them can be removed immediately, without the opportunity for a hearing in immigration court to challenge their deportation.
Importantly, this should not be used in all situations. In particular, if someone expresses a fear to return to their home country, then they should still be given the opportunity to apply for asylum. Additionally, ICE officers do have discretion to give someone the opportunity to appear before an immigration judge. Some examples are: if the person has “mental competency” issues, is the sole caregiver of a U.S. citizen or permanent resident child, was a witness to or victim of a crime, or has another way of obtaining lawful status through the deportation process.
As a general rule, we encourage people to carry proof that they have resided in the United States for more than two years, entered the United States lawfully, are currently in lawful status, or meet one of the exceptions above.
If you have any questions about your case or would like to speak with an attorney, do not hesitate to contact our office at (312) 427-6163.