Fast-Track Deportations Plan Will Likely Cause The Next Big Immigration Legal Battle

By Nethani Palmani | Mar 07, 2017 09:45 AM EST

Immigrants who are deported through the expedited removal process do not get a hearing before an immigration judge.(Photo : Alex Wong / Getty Images)

The Trump administration is planning to expand the expedited removal of immigrants in the country illegally. The constitutional challenges that will arise from the fast-track deportations plan will most likely become the next major legal battle over immigration.

According to Los Angeles Times, the deportation plan would affect more people than those affected by President Trump's recent temporary travel ban. It includes "potentially most of the estimated 11 million immigrants living illegally in the United States".

According to the same publication, immigrants who undergo deportation through the expedited removal process will not get a hearing before an immigration judge. Such removals had been previously confined by the Obama administration to those discovered near the border, who had been living in the country illegally fewer than two weeks.

A Feb. 20 memo released by the Department of Homeland Security announced that the federal government will expand an Obama administration policy that prioritized deportations by focusing on those who commit serious crimes. Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly proposed the expanding expedited removals to anyone who has been in the country illegally for less than two years, in any part of the country, according to ABA Journal.

Civil liberties advocates argue the expansion is a violation of due process that is available to immigrants who have been living in the country. Some experts, on the other hand, believe they still deserve a full adversarial hearing before an immigration judge prior to deportation, while others claim Congress provided for due process in the expedited removal procedure.

Hiroshi Motomura, law professor at the University of California at Los Angeles said it's likely that a court might find that a full immigration court hearing isn't constitutionally required in the expansion. But it is also possible "that a single field agent making the decision" in the deportations plan "is constitutionally deficient," he said.

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