Jul 28

Is expedited removal a violation of due process?

When President Obama was elected, may immigrant hopefuls believed they had someone on their side. Now as we enter the final half of his second presidential term, many of those who supported him are now looking the other way. Much of the dissatisfaction arises from the fact that the Obama administration has been an aggressive deporter, with almost two million under his belt.

More troubling, however, is the fact that about three-quarters were deported two years ago with no hearing whatsoever, and advocates complain that this is depriving immigrants of their due process. This is not unheard of, however. It has been the prerogative of the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) whether of not they deport, with the provision that the immigrants go willingly. The selling point for immigrants is they their record will not be blemished, and they will still have a chance to apply for immigration through the usual channels.

But since 2005 another method of deportation called “expedited removal” became part of the arsenal for the Department of Homeland Security. With the case of expedited removal, the attempt to enter the United States does go on their record, and may make them eligible for future application. And if they try to enter illegally again, it will mean a felony charge. Activists argue that these measures are too extreme, and that immigrants deported without even a hearing is a fundamental assault on what makes America great. They also claim that the real motivation behind expedited removal is that is keeps immigrants in the dark about their legal rights, and the fact that some of them may have legal grounds for remaining in the US.

Since more immigration reform in the current regime is unlikely, advocates want Obama to personally step in and reduce the number of expedited deportations.