Expansion of expedited removal to begin
July 26, 2019
The Trump administration is expanding the use of expedited removal procedures to cover the entire country. We discussed a Senate plan to fast track asylum proceedings yesterday. The expansion of expedited removal is a different initiative that would allow officials to deport someone who cannot prove s/he has been in the country for at least two years immediately – literally within hours of being detained. From NPR:
Currently, undocumented immigrants who cross into the U.S. by land can be deported without an immigration hearing if they are arrested within 100 miles of the border during the first 14 days after their arrival. Those who arrive by sea can be deported without legal proceedings if they are unable to prove they have been living in the U.S. for two years or more.
But under the latest proposal, all geographical limitations would be lifted and rapid removal proceedings would be applied to all undocumented immigrants who have been in the country for less than two years.
The expansion of expedited removal will be challenged in court.
“We plan on challenging the change … speedily,” Anand Balakrishnan, Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU’s Immigrant Rights Project told NPR.
Balakrishnan called the policy shift “extremely sweeping,” and said it authorizes any Customs and Border Protection officer to determine whether a person has been in the U.S. the requisite amount of time to trigger legal proceedings.
“The only way out of that is for the person to affirmatively prove that they’ve been here for two years or more. To have that evidence on them at all times,” he said. “It puts the burden on every noncitizen to prove their continuous presence.”
He noted, deportations could happen within hours of a person’s arrest.
“From what we know about the way expedited removals have been administered in the past, it’s been rife with errors,” Balakrishnan said. “U.S. citizens have been ordered deported” and in other cases, people who have lived in the country for more than a decade have also been ejected, he said.
U.S. Citizen Detained for 26 Days
An 18 year-old high school student, Francisco Erwim Galicia, born in Dallas, TX, was detained for over three weeks by Customs and Border Protection and then Immigration and Customs Enforcement, despite having proof of his citizenship on him when stopped at an immigation checkpoint.
Galicia, 18, was in a van with his brother Marlon and three other high school friends on June 27. They were on their way to Houston for a recruitment event when they were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in Falfurrias, Texas — about 50 miles from home and within the corridor of the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector.
Officials wanted to know their legal status. Their answers varied.
Two of them were immediately cleared but Galicia’s 17-year-old brother and another boy, were in the country illegally. They were detained.
When officials questioned Galicia, he told them he was born in Dallas. He also produced a Texas ID, a social security card and a copy of a wallet-sized birth certificate.
It was not enough. The boys were held overnight and then transferred to the CBP. Galicia’s younger brother, though a minor, signed a deportation order to get out of detention with no contact with his mother. He is now in Mexico living with his grandmother. The conditions in the facility were so bad that Galicia almost agreed to sign an order just to get out.
Over the next few weeks, Galicia said he was kept filthy, hungry and in a constant state of anxiety. He was placed in a crowded room with about 60 other men and one open toilet. He was denied access to a shower for more than three weeks and he said he was fed one sandwich three times a day. His lawyer estimates he lost about 20 pounds.
Galicia’s mother was able to secure assistance from an attorney, who was able to obtain his release by providing original birth certificates and other documentation. Had she not been able to secure an attorney, her son would have likely been deported. In Galicia’s case, there was confusion about a tourist visa he had been issued after the family had moved back to Mexico for a time. It is hard to believe, however, that it would take 26 days to confirm his birth record.
Do we really want to trust agencies that take 26 days to confirm the birth certificate of a U.S. citizen- and then only under pressure from an attorney, which most people detained do not have – to oversee a fair process of expedited removal?
Take Action to secure release of Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez
We are asking folks to join in a call to action to help secure the release of an activist and longtime Chicago resident, Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez. Some background below. You can sign a petition here.
On May 21, 2019, beloved OCAD staff Miguel Lopez received a call alerting him that his youngest brother, Jesus Alberto Lopez Gutierrez (A-204588492), a long time resident of Chicago, was turned into Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody after being detained by a local Iowa police officer on his way home from a camping trip.
Jesus Alberto came to the United States when he was nine years old and has lived in Chicago since 2005. He graduated from Solorio Academy High School in June 2014 and began working to support his family that same year. During the fall in 2012, Jesus Alberto applied for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and, in February 2013, his application was approved by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Before his detention, Jesus Alberto was in the process of renewing his DACA, but he is unable to move forward with his application unless ICE releases him from detention.