Understanding Expedited Removal

Often referred to as “summary” deportation, expedited removal allows the Department of Homeland Security to deport non-U.S. citizens who arrive in the country without valid documentation (e.g., a passport or visa) or attempt to gain entry via misrepresentation or fraud. Removal is immediate and without a formal hearing, which is one of the reasons why it can be such a frightening experience.

Overview of Expedited Removal

Expedited removal was implemented in 1996 after the passing of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act. It enables immigration officers to deport certain non-citizens at the border as well as those who entered without authorization if they are picked up by ICE officers within two weeks of arrival and within 100 miles of either the Canadian or Mexican border.

On January 25, 2017, a White House Executive Order dramatically expanded the criteria for expedited removal. Now, U.S. Customs and Border Protection can summarily deport anyone who is suspected of being in the country illegally and/or cannot prove that they have been in the country continuously for at least two years.

If you are picked up by ICE, the onus is on you to prove that you are lawfully present in the U.S. If you can’t produce the required documentation, you can be detained and deported even if you are in the country legally.

Expedited removal can have a catastrophic effect on your goal of becoming a U.S. citizen. Once deported, you cannot return for at least five years. If immigration authorities believe that you falsified your entry documents or fraudulently claimed to be a citizen, the ban is permanent. You may be able to come back if you obtain a waiver, but these waivers are discretionary and not guaranteed.

Who Is Not Subject to Expedited Removal?

You may not be deported by expedited removal if you are a:

  • U.S. citizen
  • Lawful permanent resident
  • Refugee or asylee who has been lawfully admitted

If you have been in the U.S. illegally for over two years, theoretically you cannot be subjected to expedited removal, although the government can still issue a Notice to Appear for a regular removal proceeding.

Asylees and Expedited Removal

If you are afraid to return home, you can ask for asylum in the U.S. An asylum officer will then interview you to see if you qualify for immigration relief under programs like the following:

  • Asylum law
  • The U.N. Convention Against Torture
  • The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

If you have never been removed from the U.S. before, you must prove that it is more likely than not that you would face torture or persecution if sent home. If you have been removed in the past, the stakes are higher: you must establish a “reasonable” fear.

If your fear is deemed to be credible or reasonable, you will have a hearing before an immigration judge, usually within 10 days. Otherwise, you can be deported, although your immigration attorney can ask a judge to review the decision.

Appealing an Expedited Removal Order

You cannot generally appeal an order of expedited removal, although you may be able to file a petition for habeas corpus review if your case was treated with extreme unfairness. If the court agrees to hear your petition, it will grant a temporary restraining order to keep you in the U.S. until it can hear your case.

If you were already deported, your immigration attorney can submit a review question to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. If it is determined that you should not have been deported, the expedited removal order will be vacated.

What About Voluntary Departure?

You may request voluntary departure only if you are served with a Notice to Appear and placed in expedited removal proceedings. If granted, you can leave the U.S. at your own expense and possibly return at a later date. Although there will be a record of the proceeding, voluntary departure does not have the same immigration consequences as a removal order.

Contact an Experienced Removal Defense Attorney

If you are placed in expedited removal proceedings, you need to act fast. At Sanchez-Roig Law, P.A., we have been protecting the rights of immigrants for over 23 years and may be able to challenge a removal order directly with U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officials.  Our attorneys have also successfully vacated orders that were incorrectly or unfairly issued by immigration officers. To schedule an urgent case review, call us at 305-373-5385 today.