Sacramento, California - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today led a coalition of attorneys general in opposing the Trump Administration’s new rule vastly expanding the use of expedited removal. Under the new rule, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is authorized to deport certain individuals living anywhere in the United States without the due process protections afforded in normal removal proceedings, such as the right to an attorney or a hearing before a judge. In an amicus brief before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the Attorneys General urge the court to grant a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of the rule, which was issued without advance notice or opportunity for public comment.
“This rule is unnecessary, inhumane, and un-American,” said Attorney General Becerra. “The Trump Administration is continuing its cruel and partisan campaign of attacking immigrant families. We’re proud to stand with our partners around the country to defend the rights of hard-working immigrants and protect people living in our states from the fear of persecution or harassment at the hands of the federal government.”
Under the rule, the Trump Administration is expanding the use of expedited removal to allow federal officials to deport undocumented immigrants from anywhere in the United States under a fast-tracked process that generally does not allow for access to legal representation, witnesses, or a meaningful opportunity to present evidence and defenses. The rule significantly increases the risk that people will be erroneously deported and, for those caught up in the proceedings, virtually eliminates access to the protections afforded during formal immigration hearings. In 2004, the federal government extended the use of expedited removal to include undocumented individuals who were apprehended within 14 days of arrival in the United States by land and within 100 miles of any land border. Now, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is allowing expedited removal proceedings to be used to deport undocumented immigrants living anywhere in the United States if the individuals cannot establish, to the satisfaction of a rank and file immigration officer, that they have continuously resided in the country for two years. The rule also lacks a clear legal standard. As a result, immigration officials could impose an inconsistent and unclear burden of proof on individuals living in the country, resulting in final deportation orders that are not generally subject to judicial review. Lawful residents, U.S. citizens, asylees, or other individuals with legal protections that enable them to remain in the country could be mistakenly subjected to deportation.
In the brief, the Attorneys General note that the policy will inflict serious harm on the states’ families and communities. For instance, mixed-status households with both lawful and undocumented residents may be torn apart with little or no time to prepare or seek legal representation. The prospect of sudden and unexpected separation can cause children to experience serious mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. This can manifest in physical symptoms in children such as persistent stomachaches and headaches, refusing to eat, pulling out their hair, engaging in substance abuse, and losing interest in daily activities. These harms are worsened when fears of forcible family separation come true. In addition, because of the rule, immigrants may be even less likely to report crime or exploitation or seek needed medical care, negatively affecting public safety and health.
Attorney General Becerra is committed to fighting for the rights of immigrants in California and around the country. Last month, Attorney General Becerra led a coalition of attorneys general in defending the human rights of children in civil immigration detention in the United States. Earlier this year, Attorney General Becerra led a lawsuit challenging President Trump’s illegal diversion of funds to construct a wall at the southern border; he released a first-of-its-kind report on civil immigration detention facilities in California; he led a multistate amicus brief challenging the Trump Administration’s “Turnback Policy”; and he co-led a multistate effort before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit to defend hundreds of thousands of people who hold Temporary Protected Status.
In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Becerra is joined by the Attorneys General of Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.