WASHINGTON — The American Civil Liberties Union, American Immigration Council, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a federal lawsuit today challenging the Trump administration’s new rule that massively expands fast-track deportations without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney.
The expanded expedited removal rule took effect July 23 and targets immigrants nationwide who cannot prove they have 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.
“Hundreds of thousands of people living anywhere in the U.S. are at risk of being separated from their families and expelled from the country without any recourse. This is a dramatic — and illegal — escalation in the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrant communities,” said Anand Balakrishnan, an attorney with the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project.
The case was filed on behalf of immigrant community organizations Make the Road New York, LUPE (La Unión del Pueblo Entero), and We Count!
“This reckless effort to deprive people of their fundamental rights will place countless immigrants at risk, including many people who have been in the United States for years. Our youth and transgender members would be particularly vulnerable to wrongfully being subject to this expanded expedited removal, as they often lack documents proving their extended presence in the country. We will continue to fight against this administration’s unlawful tactics,” said Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York.
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 expansion of fast-track deportations will strip hundreds of thousands of noncitizens of a fair hearing on whether they are to be deported from their families, friends, and communities in the United States and will create a ‘show me your papers’ regime nationwide,” said Trina Realmuto, directing attorney of litigation at the American Immigration Council. “The administration is well aware of the serious flaws that long have existed in the expedited removal process. This rule exacerbates those problems and places U.S. residents — including U.S. citizens, permanent residents, and asylum-seekers — at serious risk of wrongful deportation.”
The lawsuit cites violations of the Administrative Procedure Act, Immigration and Nationality Act, and the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause.
“LUPE and its members organize for fair, humane, and sensible policies that impact the immigrant communities we serve. Immigrant members of LUPE are building a better life for their families and a better nation for all of us. They should not be stripped of their rights and ripped from their communities because of fast-tracked deportations that target any ‘foreign-looking’ person not carrying on them documentation of their life here,” said Juanita Valdez-Cox, executive director of La Unión del Pueblo Entero. “It’s a reckless policy designed and intended to terrorize our community and harm Latino and Hispanic families. But we will not let fear win.”