The Biden administration on Friday rescinded a Trump-era policy that had expanded expedited removal of migrants who could not prove they had been in the U.S. for at least two years.
Expedited removal was created in 1996 to allow low-level immigration officers to quickly deport certain noncitizens who are undocumented or have committed fraud or misrepresentation.
In 2019 under former President Donald Trump, expedited removal was expanded to apply also to individuals who were encountered within the entire U.S. and who had not been present physically in the country for two years prior to apprehension.
"This Notice rescinds the July 23, 2019 Notice, Designating Aliens for Expedited Removal, which expanded to the maximum extent permitted by the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) the application of expedited removal procedures to noncitizens not already covered by previous designations," read a Department of Homeland Security memo shared Friday on Twitter by American Immigration Council Policy Director Jorge Loweree.
"The INA expressly authorizes the application of expedited removal procedures to noncitizens 'arriving in the United States' " while also authorizing the Secretary of Homeland Security to extend (by designation) such procedures to certain other categories of noncitizens present in the United States."
The memo added that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has the power to "modify designations."
"The INA permits the Secretary, in her or his sole and unreviewable discretion, to modify any such designations at any time," the memo said. "By rescinding only the designation of the class of noncitizens covered by the July 23, 2019 Notice, this Notice leaves in effect the prior discretionary designations that have, for over two decades, extended expedited removal to additional categories of noncitizens."
In July 2019, the Trump administration announced that it would vastly expand the authority of immigration officers to deport migrants without allowing them to first appear before judges.
The fast-track deportations applied to anyone in the country illegally for less than two years. Previously, those deportations largely had been limited to people arrested almost immediately after crossing the Mexican border.
At the time, then-acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan portrayed the nationwide extension of "expedited removal" authority as another Trump administration effort to address an "ongoing crisis on the southern border" by freeing up beds in detention facilities and reducing a backlog of more than 900,000 cases in immigration courts.
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