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What Is the “Expedited Removal” Process?

In many cases where a foreign-born person within the U.S. is set to be deported, they are not sent away from the U.S. immediately. Instead, they are typically allowed an initial hearing before an immigration judge.

However, there are certain circumstances in which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) made deem that a person with no immigration status should be deported immediately without the chance to sit in front of a judge. This is known as the “expedited removal” process.

Who May Be Subject to This Process?

Created in 1996 by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigration Responsibility Act (IIRAIRA), the expedited removal process allows U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to deport certain undocumented noncitizens to their home country in a matter of days or even hours.

Not all persons without documentation are potentially subject to expedited removal. Before issuing one of these orders, an immigration officer must deem the person inadmissible to the U.S. if he or she:

  • Committed fraud, lied, or otherwise misrepresented material facts, including falsifying U.S. citizenships or entry documents
  • Entered the U.S. without valid entry documents, such as a visa, border crosser card, or passport

Up until 2017, the procedure could only be carried out to those who fit the above criteria and were also found 1.) within 100 miles from the border of Mexico or Canada and 2.) had illegally entered the country within the last 14 days.

However, under the Trump Administration, the expedited removal process was expanded to include:

  • Any undocumented immigrant found within the U.S., unless that person could provide evidence that they had frequently been continuously present in the country over the last two years; and
  • Any undocumented immigrant found within 100 “air” miles from the U.S. international land border who have been in the U.S. continuously for more than 14 days but less than two years

How Often Does Expedited Removal Occur?

According to the National Immigration Forum, about 103,000 of the 460,000 (22.5%) noncitizens apprehended in 2017 were removed from the country through the expedited removal process.

The procedure was used with increasing frequency under the Trump Administration after President Trump issued an executive order in 2017 expanding the expedited removal process as mentioned above.

One of the main issues with this process is that it allows the authority of an immigration officer to go unchecked, as the burden of proof to avoid deportation is on the individual apprehended.

Additionally, the consequences of being deported through expedited removal are not short-term. Once a person has been issued an expedited removal order, they are typically banned from reentry into the U.S. for at least five years. However, based on the circumstances, the individual may be given a ten-year, 20-year, or permanent ban.

If you believe that your removal order was improper or if you need assistance obtaining a green card or U.S. citizenship, our board-certified immigration attorneys are here to guide you every step of the way. Contact Maney Gordon Zeller at (800) 708-4399 to speak with our legal team for free today.