Several former immigration enforcement chiefs are openly questioning the legality of President Trump’s plan to ramp up a program that allows federal agents to quickly deport suspected undocumented immigrants without appearing before a judge.
Trump’s immigration raids show greater focus on non-criminals, and using ‘expedited removal’ may be illegal,'” the former officials said, according to USA Today,
Congress created ‘expedited removal program’ in 1996, but the Clinton administration limited its use to people caught at ports of entry who had arrived in the previous 14 days.
However, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly recently ordered an expansion of the program to apply nationwide and for anyone who entered the country within the previous two years.
“The expansion threatens the constitutional rights of undocumented immigrants who may get mistakenly deported,” warned John Sandweg, who headed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Obama, the USA Today reported.
“The Supreme Court has consistently held that even undocumented immigrants are entitled to due process,” he said.
Julie Myers Wood, who headed ICE under President George W. Bush, agreed. She said her team considered expanding expedited removals, but decided against it because of legal concerns, the newspaper wrote.
Wood note that other aspects of Trump’s tougher immigration enforcement plan also may run afoul of the law.
“Many of these authorities have never been used that way,” Wood said. “The administration is really testing the parameters of what’s acceptable. There is some litigation risk there.”
It’s unclear how many people could be deported immediately under Trump’s plan.