WASHINGTON — A federal court has blocked a Trump administration policy that sought to massively expand fast-track deportations without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney.
The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP sought the preliminary injunction, which was granted close to midnight on Friday by U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson.
“The court rejected the Trump administration’s illegal attempt to remove hundreds of thousands of people from the U.S. without any legal recourse,” said ACLU attorney Anand Balakrishnan, who argued the case. “This ruling recognizes the irreparable harm of this policy.”
The case was filed on behalf of immigrant community organizations Make the Road New York, LUPE (La Unión del Pueblo Entero), and We Count!
The policy was announced on July 23 and targeted immigrants nationwide who cannot prove they had been in the U.S. continuously for two years or more. Prior to the rule, expedited removal was limited to a 100-mile zone from the border; to those who arrived by sea; and to those who had been in the U.S. for 14 days or fewer.
“The Trump administration intended to deport as many noncitizens as possible using a process that is profoundly flawed and puts noncitizens, including asylum-seekers, at serious risk of wrongful deportation. We have seen this play out over the past two decades, under a more limited use of this process. The court’s decision to stop the expansion of this process will protect hundreds of thousands of longtime U.S. residents from being deported without a court hearing and prevents the country from becoming a ‘show me your papers’ regime,” said Trina Realmuto, directing attorney of the American Immigration Council.
The lawsuit, Make the Road New York v. McAleenan, was filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C. The ACLU of the District of Columbia is co-counsel. The lawsuit cites violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.
“We are deeply gratified that the court has recognized the gravity of, and severe harm that would be inflicted by, the administration’s change to the fast-track deportation policy. This ruling will undoubtedly save countless U.S. residents and asylum-seekers from facing deportation without due process,” said Susannah Geltman, a litigation partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.