On Monday the Trump administration announced it would be giving immigration officers and border patrol agents the authority to deport illegal migrants without making them stand before an immigration judge, a process that can take months.
This comes as the second major shift in immigration policy is just over a week and one that is expected to significantly help out the “ongoing crisis on the southern border,” according to the acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan.
This “expedited removal” authority is part of the administration’s effort to solve the problems that the Democrats have so loudly been complaining about for years. McAleenan says this will allow for more beds to be freed up in the overcrowded detention centers and for 900,000 plus cases that are backlogged in the immigration courts be significantly reduced.
Each month thousands of more migrants flock to America’s southern border, many traveling from Honduras, Guatemala, and other Central and South American countries. And nearly 40% of those are children, who, according to federal law, must be kept in separate facilities than the border jails that most adults are kept. May alone saw nearly 133,000 migrants detained.
These large numbers have led to overcrowded facilities, limited supplies, and overworked personnel. In response, the border agencies and the Trump administration asked Congress for additional funding to ease the tension on supplies and care that these migrants so desperately need will in the custody of the US. However, the Democratic House delayed the bill and then denied it initially, making many revisions and giving less money to solve the problem.
Now that funding has finally been given; the situation is improving. But there are still far too many people in each facility and overcrowding has become rampant.
According to the current process, each detained migrant is held until they are given a court date and case in which they can plead to stay in the country. But the process can take months or even years.
The new policy goes into effect on Tuesday and can be applied to anyone who has been illegally in the country for less than two years.
It will allow those people to be processed and deported much more quickly, reducing the number of detainees significantly, a point that many Democrats have been demanding for some time.
According to the Department of Homeland Security, there are currently 20,570 people who have been arrested inside the US from October 2017 through September 2018 who have been in the country less than two years.
However, there are some exceptions, including if a person passes an interview for asylum or expresses a fear of returning home.
McAleenan says the department “expects that the full use of the expedited removal statutory authority will strengthen national security, diminish the number of illegal entries, and otherwise ensure the prompt removal of aliens apprehended in the United States.”
And guess who is complaining. Yep, the Democrats.
They say they don’t want migrants detained. They don’t want overcrowding. They want the current policies to change. And now that this new law fixes all of their demands, they say it’s unjust and unfair.
They’ll never be happy.
In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and American Immigration Council have said they would sue to block the policy. According to the director of ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, Omar Jawdat, “Under this unlawful plan, immigrants who have lived here for years would be deported with less due process than people get in traffic court.”
The powers that allow such a policy to be enforced have been in place since 1996. However, it was not until 2004 that is was more strictly enforced.
According to the law, anyone caught within two weeks of entering the US by land or within 100 miles from the border by sea can be ‘fast-track’ deported. Since then, the policy has been used quite often.
The new rule simply expands this to apply to any illegal migrant living within the US for less than two years.
But critics worry that it could also affect those who have lived here for years longer and may not have proof of their stay.