Each year in the United States (U.S.), the government deports far too many immigrants through expedited removal proceedings. Stagnated with massive backlogs of immigration court cases, the U.S. government has continually relied on expedited removal as a quick way to deport certain immigrants. Yet the system is rife with the potential for human error and prejudice, putting innocent lives at risk. Thus, expedited removal is a danger to many undocumented immigrants throughout America.
But in March 2019, a court ruling provided hope for asylum seekers throughout the nation. A federal appeals court reversed the decision of a lower court, determining that foreign nationals seeking asylum have the right to appeal their expedited removal decisions to a federal court. Without a doubt, this critical development is a major victory for asylum seekers throughout America.
In today’s article, we will review the following:
- What is expedited removal?
- Who can be deported via expedited removal?
- What does the March 2019 ruling mean for asylum seekers?
If you are seeking asylum, or need help with any immigration concern, you need the assistance of a qualified immigration attorney. Only a lawyer certified by your state’s bar association can properly guide your court proceedings and protect your rights. When your right to live in America is at risk, do not leave it to chance. Davis & Associates offers free consultations every day. Contact us to schedule a time to talk with one of our expert attorneys!
Defining Expedited Removal
Expedited removal refers to a very specific deportation process created in 1996. In short, it allows the U.S. government to deport certain foreign nationals via a quickened removal process. Currently, a massive case backlog weighs down the immigration court system so formal deportation proceedings can take months or even years. Expedited removal solves this problem for U.S. officials seeking quick deportations.
Who Can Be Deported Through Expedited Removal?
According to current law, the government can only remove those foreign nationals present in the U.S. without legal status via expedited removal. Even further, ICE or border patrol must apprehend these individuals within two weeks of arrival and within 100 miles of a land border (including Canada and Mexico).
Any person with legal status (i.e., green card holder, visa holder) cannot be deported via expedited removal.
Dangers Of Expedited Removal
Unfortunately, expedited removal has several key weaknesses that make it vulnerable to human mistakes and biases. First, expedited removal, by its very nature, denies certain immigrants the right of habeas corpus (i.e., the right to a hearing with a judge, which prevents unlawful imprisonment). Because they do not receive a court hearing, many people who would otherwise achieve relief from deportation face removal. Read more about the importance of Habeas Corpus here.
Since expedited removal does not allow for court hearings, final decisions are rendered by low-level government officials. Unfortunately, these decisions are also not appealable, meaning that critical errors can occur without any restitution. Because life-altering decisions are made by one person and are non-appealable, expedited removal cases are vulnerable to prejudice, bias, and error.
Finally, expedited removal seeks to remove those foreign nationals who are often the most vulnerable. Any person seeking defensive asylum must pass a “credible fear” screening. Failure to do so means that a person can become eligible for expedited removal.
March 2019 Court Decision
A Ninth Circuit federal appeals court released a monumental ruling on March 7. It provided its final decision regarding Thuraissigiam v. U.S. and subsequently reversed a lower court’s ruling on the case. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit in the name of Mr. Vijayakumar Thuraissigiam. Mr. Thuraissigiam is a Sri Lankan national who sought asylum in the U.S., yet was subject to expedited removal proceedings after failing a credible fear interview. The appeals court did not rule that Mr. Thuraissigiam deserves asylum – it simply stated that he did not receive fair consideration and deserves the ability to appeal.
According to the appeals court, the U.S. provides defensive asylum seekers with “meager judicial protections” under the law. Now, asylum seekers across America have the right to appeal expedited removal proceedings. Without a doubt, appeals provide a much-needed layer of protection for vulnerable asylees. It is important to note that at this time, the court’s ruling only applies to asylum seekers in expedited removal proceedings.
Because the appeals court’s decision reversed the ruling of a lower court, it is possible – and quite likely – that the Trump administration will seek the Supreme Court’s opinion on the matter.
Contact An Expert Asylum Lawyer Today
In conclusion, if you fear expedited removal, don’t hesitate. The time to protect yourself and your loved ones is now. Contact a qualified and compassionate attorney today – they can help you protect yourself and your family. Remember, never work with “visa consultants” or “notarios”– they are not legally certified to provide you with legal counsel. Only a lawyer registered with your state’s bar association possesses the proper skills and training to help you.
Davis & Associates proudly serves immigrants in Texas. Our lawyers care deeply about the community and can provide help quickly and efficiently. If you have any immigration concern, contact us to schedule a free initial consultation. You’ll sit down with one of our knowledgeable attorneys and receive honest guidance that will help you move forward. Contact us today!