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California's AG challenges Trump on fast-track deportations

Gustavo Solis, The San Diego Union-Tribune on

Published in News & Features

SAN DIEGO -- California's attorney general Monday asked the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security to revoke a Trump administration rule that expands fast-track deportations for unauthorized immigrants who cannot prove that they have been in the country for at least two years.

Under these deportations, officially known as expedited removals, people are not given due process protections available in normal deportation cases such as the right to an attorney or a hearing before an immigration judge.

Attorney General Xavier Becerra said the Trump administration's policy is another attempt "to bully vulnerable immigrant families."

"The rule allows line-level immigration offices to kick people out of the country on the spot from anywhere in the United States with virtually no oversight or review," Becerra said in a statement. "It is reckless, dangerous, and risks the deportation of lawful residents and legitimate asylum seekers, who, by law, should be exempt."

Expedited removal has been around since 1996. In 2004, the federal government applied it exclusively to unauthorized immigrants who had been in the country fewer than 14 days and were within 100 miles of the border.

However, this year, the Trump administration expanded the application of expedited removal to include all unauthorized immigrants who have been in the country less than two years and are detained anywhere in the country.

 

Becerra, who joined 19 other attorneys general in writing a letter to the Department of Homeland Security to stop the implementation of this policy, believes that there is a high potential for mistakes and unintended consequences.

For instance, Becerra believes that because the Trump administration's rule lacks clear legal standards, immigration officials may impose inconsistent or unclear burden of proof on people who are detained. Lawful residents, U.S. citizens, asylees, and other people with legal protections could be mistakenly deported, the attorney general said.

Additionally, Becerra says the new rule could result in family separations. For example, mixed-status households -- meaning families made up of both lawful and undocumented residents, could be torn apart.

Another concern is that immigrants may be less likely to report crimes or seek medical care out of concern for this new rule.

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