Category: expedited removal

Report Shows that Majority of Deportations are Done Through Expedited Removal Proceedings

The American Immigration Council published a report today showing that the majority of removals are being conducted through expedited removal procedures like expedited removal, reinstatement of removal, and stipulated removal. These three mechanisms, in my opinion violate basic constitutional rights including Due Process.

The three mechanisms  allow immigration officials or an immigration judge to hasten an immigrant’s removal. The first two, expedited removal and reinstatement of removal, allow an immigration officer to remove an applicant for admission at a port of entry or if found within 100 miles from the border. The procedures does not take into account the person’s contacts in the United States. The only possible recourse for the immigrant is to exhibit fear of returning to his country, after which he will be subjected to a credible fear interview. Oftentimes, the immigrant is not informed of his right to counsel or know that he had been deported.

Lastly, an immigrant could also stipulate to be removed from the United States. The report speaks about the coercive nature of the interrogation process, which raises serious Due Process concerns. During these interviews, immigration officers usually use coercive tactics to “convince” the immigrant to stipulate to be removed. These individuals are usually in detention, which raises serious issues regarding the voluntary nature of these stipulations.

The removal system is plagued with injustice and the odds are usually stacked against individuals who do not know the system and usually do not speak English.  While some might believe that these expedited removal proceedings might be the right procedures to deport people who have no right to be in the United States in the first place, they are, in my view, illegal and a slap in the face of our judicial system. America could simply do better.

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Fifth Circuit Rules that Expedited Removal Applies to All Aliens

In a decision issued last week, the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that expedited removal under INA 238 applies to all aliens. INA 238 allows the expedited removal of any alien who is confined in a correctional institution and convicted of an aggravated felony. Under the statute the Department of Homeland Security must issue a Notice of Intent to proceed through expedited proceedings. The alien may apply for Withholding of Removal under the Torture Convention if he has a fear of returning to his country.
Valdiviez-Hernandez was under investigation for allegedly using someone else’s identity and social security number. ICE found a firearm in his house for which he was convicted as an illegal alien in possession of a firearm. The Service initiated expedited removal proceedings and he refused to sign the Notice. He also failed to respond to the allegations. The immigration judge denied his request for Withholding of Removal and he appealed. He argued that he was not subject to expedited removal since he was not admitted to the United States since he entered the United States illegally. The court rejected this argument and followed other circuits ruling that nothing in the statute limits these proceedings to lawfully admitted aliens. The court thus denied the petition for review and upheld the removal order. 
The argument that Valdiviez-Hernandez was not subject to expedited removal because he was not admitted was doomed from the beginning since the statute clearly expands these proceedings to legal and illegal aliens. The better argument would have been a challenge to the procedure on Due Process grounds. I will follow this case to see if Valdiviez-Hernandez files a petition for rehearing en banc