Last Sunday, President Trump took his attacks on the U.S. immigration system to new heights, tweeting out that we need to deport undocumented immigrants without trial. In the United States (and internationally), undocumented immigrants have the legal right to seek asylum at the border and have their cases heard. Migrants who have been in the country for a certain length of time are also protected under the law.
Expedited removal is not a new concept. President George W. Bush implemented a policy in 2004 that would allow undocumented arrivals to be deported without trial if they were in the country for two weeks or less and were captured within 100 miles of the border. It's this policy that the Trump administration seeks to expand.
Trump's policy would allow for expedited removal for any undocumented immigrants anywhere in the country who cannot prove residence for more than 90 days. Note that this puts the burden of proof on the immigrant—how does one prove 90+ days of residence?—while robbing them of the ability to plead their case.
The AILA Opposes the Policy
The central fact is this: anyone within the borders of the United States has the right to have their case heard before a judge. Due process of law is the cornerstone of American liberty—eroding that protection is a dangerous precedent. The treasurer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, Jeremy McKinney, said as much in a statement to the Huffington Post.
“The President’s tweets today further exposes this administration’s lack of interest in democratic norms, such as the guarantee of due process of law. This guarantee extends to all of us whether documented or undocumented. The specific right to a fair hearing before being deported has existed for well over a century," Mr. McKinney said. "It is Constitutional Law 101."
As a member of the AILA, the Law Offices of Lloyd E. Bennett stands with Jeremy McKinney, the ACLU, and numerous immigration activists in opposing this policy. America was built on equal access to the law, and such access is not limited to citizens.