The Trump administration on Monday announced a plan to expand rapid deportations for undocumented immigrants in an attempt to alleviate the heavy backlog of immigration-court cases.
Currently, deportation without a hearing before an immigration judge, or “expedited removal,” is used only for undocumented immigrants within 100 miles of the border who have been in the U.S. two weeks or less. Effective Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security will expand the expedited-removal policy to all illegal immigrants who came across the southern border and cannot prove they have lived in the U.S. for at least two years, according to the notice DHS will publish in the Federal Register.
“In recent years, increasing numbers of aliens have been detained after being apprehended within the interior of the United States, necessitating a change in the focus of limited government resources to include the use of expedited removal proceedings for aliens apprehended within the U.S. interior, as well as near the border,” the notice reads.
The rule will almost certainly face immediate legal challenges from immigrant-advocacy groups.
U.S. immigration courts currently have a backlog of 900,000 pending cases that grows each day amid the record influx of immigrants converging on the southern border this year. Federal authorities arrested about 95,000 migrants in June, down from 133,000 — its highest level since March 2006 — in May.
Last month, Congress approved a $4.6 billion border-aid bill aimed at easing the stress the crisis has placed on resource-strapped migrant-detention facilities. On Wednesday, the Pentagon also announced that an additional 2,100 troops will be deployed to the southern border to assist federal authorities.