Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that they will begin “expedited removal” procedures for anyone who has been present in the U.S. without documentation for two years or less. Under the new policy – expedited removal [deportation] can be accomplished without any hearing or opportunity to go before a judge. Neither DHS nor ICE has given any guidance about how they expect anyone apprehended to prove they have been in the U.S. more than two years, which would legally give them the opportunity to go before a judge before they can be removed. Stay tuned to this blog as we will update this announcement as soon as we have more information.
The President announced this week that ICE would begin massive raids to round up and deport those immigrants with past orders of deportation. The enforcement operation has now been postponed for two weeks. If you or anyone in your home is undocumented, please take the time to look at the know your rights sheets appearing below. You can print the Know Your Rights Card and carry it with you to present to government agents if you are encountered by ICE.
Yesterday, Trump kicked off his 2020 presidential campaign with announcement by tweet that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will begin mass scale deportation of undocumented persons, even those with no criminal background. His tweet said that starting next week, his administration “will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States.They will be removed as fast as they come in.”
Most experts agree that it would be impossible to carry out coordinated raids to locate and deport 10 million undocumented people. ICE is already overwhelmed, lacking of staff, funding and detention space for its current workload. There are reports however, that the new acting Director of ICE, Mark Morgan has acknowledged a plan to go after those one million individuals who have already been through the removal process and have final orders of removal entered against them. We will keep you posted here on the administration’s actions in this regard.
Immigration Enforcement in the Chicago area in 2017 has been expanding. Workplace raids by ICE agents are more frequent, arrests and detentions have increased, and undocumented immigrants must now fear what were formerly routine procedures such as “check-ins” with ICE because of the uncertainty that they will be forced into detention. Immigration Bonds seem to be harder to come by – as ICE is declining to set bond on many of its detainees, leaving the question of bond up to an immigration judge. The wait to see an immigration judge for a bond hearing can be several weeks spent in ice custody. The immigration court docket in Chicago has doubled since 2010, with nearly 25,000 pending cases now backlogged. Individual hearing dates are being scheduled out as far as 2021 for some cases.
The Trump Justice Department is focusing on enforcements policies to streamline the removal and deportation of undocumented immigrants. Although their main priority is supposed to be those arrested or convicted of crimes, many other noncriminal immigrants are being swept up in their net. Make sure you know your rights if your are detained by ICE or ICE shows up at your home or workplace. Have a family member contact an Immigration Attorney experienced in Removal Defense and Immigration Bond Hearings if you are processed by ICE for detention. Being detained by ICE and placed in Removal or Deportation proceedings is particularly frightening and stressful. But there are forms of relief that you may qualify for, that could eventually lead to permanent residence status, if you meet certain eligibility requirements.
In 2017, the number of undocumented immigrants being taken to Illinois ICE Detention centers has more than doubled at some locations. In past years, immigrants who were stopped for traffic violations were seen as low priority enforcements and were not detained by Immigrant Enforcement agents (ICE) unless there was some other, more serious or outstanding criminal arrests, charges or convictions. Now, everyone who is undocumented is fair game for immigration enforcement. Immigrants stopped for speeding, involved in minor traffic accidents, and even those showing up in civil court need to be concerned about being arrested by ICE and taken to detention. Bonding out of ICE detention has become more difficult, and having to appear before an Immigration Judge to request bond is far more likely than it used to be.
If you or a relative are detained or arrested by Immigration Enforcement agents, contact a qualified immigration attorney as soon as possible to determine whether you are eligible for a bond hearing. The time between when an immigrant enters ICE detention, is processed and his case is registered with the Immigration Court can be longer than a month. An attorney can help you file a motion to request a bond hearing -even before your case has been processed with the Immigration Court and you receive your first hearing notice. Not everyone is entitled to bond out of immigration detention. Convictions for certain crimes or prior removal orders can trigger mandatory detention, in which case you must remain in custody until your immigration case is decided.
On June 15, 2017, Department of Homeland Secretary John Kelly issued a Policy Memo regarding two programs: the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parents of American Citizens (DAPA) and there was good news and bad news. The bad news – Secretary Kelly rescinded the November 20, 2014 memo that created DAPA. DAPA was an Obama program that awarded deferred action from deportation and a work permit to those parents of U.S. citizen children that met certain criteria, such as having lived in the United States continuously since January 1, 2010 and other factors. But before the program could be implemented, 26 states joined in a lawsuit against DAPA, and a Federal Judge from the District Court for the Southern District of Texas enjoined the DAPA program, preventing it from ever being executed. The good news – Secretary Kelly left in tact the Deferred Action for Childhood arrivals (DACA) program. Unfortunately certain provisions in the DAPA policy memorandum that expanded DACA such as allowing a 3-year work permit instead of 2 year, and eliminating the eligibility age cap of 31 years old were also eliminated. So DACA remains as is for now, pursuant to the June 15, 2012 Memorandum. Although this appears to be a reprieve for the DACA program for now, the Trump administration would not commit to the long-term fate of DACA. For now, Work permits for DACA recipients will not be revoked, and the program continues to be open to new and renewal applications. You can still apply for DACA if you meet the following requirements:
- You were under the age of 31 on June 15, 2012;
- You came to the United States before your sixteenth birthday;
If you are undocumented and approached by Law Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, ICE or other Immigration Officials – you do have certain rights. If encountered at home, you do not have to open the door unless the officials have a search warrant. You have the right to remain silent, and the right to speak to a lawyer if you are detained or taken into custody. If you are approached in a Public area by immigration officers, you have the right to remain silent, you may refuse a search, and you have the right to speak to a lawyer if detained or taken into custody. You can refuse to sign any and all paperwork presented to you until you have spoken to a lawyer. Print out the attached Know Your Rights pages and keep them for your reference. Cut out the Know Your Rights Card and carry it with you. You may give it to immigration officers if you do not wish to speak to them.
On April 11, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum to all federal prosecutors titled “Renewed Commitment to Criminal Immigration Enforcement,” in which he directs federal prosecutors to enforce the criminal laws against unlawful entry into the United States. In the past, offenses such as unlawful entry, unlawful re-entry, document fraud or identity theft had noncriminal resolutions such as deportation or voluntary departure. The policies recently outlined by Sessions now encourage criminal prosecution of non-violent immigration violations as follows:
- Offenses related to unlawful transportation of harboring of undocumented aliens, with priority on those smuggling three or more individuals.
- Any case where the defendant has two or more prior misdemeanor improper entry convictions, or one or more improper entry convictions with aggravating circumstances, such as criminal history, gang membership or affiliation or multiple prior voluntary returns, prior removal or deportation orders, will be referred for criminal prosecution.
The latest Trump Executive Order on Border Security makes some significant changes on Expedited Removal and who will be subject to this Administrative Procedure. Expedited Removal is a procedure that allows Department of Homeland Security to summarily remove or deport an undocumented individual without a hearing before an Immigration Judge. This type of procedure can be applied to any person who is apprehended at a port of entry with no valid documents, or false documents; and also to any person who is apprehended somewhere other than a port of entry, who is inadmissible because of misrepresentations or has not been lawfully admitted, and cannot show he or she has been continuously present in the United States for two or more years. Under the Obama administration, the use of expedited removal was limited and only applied for individuals who arrive at a port of entry, or individuals apprehended within 14 days of their arrival and within 100 miles of an international border.
Trump’s latest Executive Order on Border Security expands those individuals who can be subject to expedited removal to any individual who entered the U.S. without legal documents, who cannot show continuous presence in the United States for two or more years. This Expansion has not taken effect yet, and Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly stated he was going to publish a notice in the Federal Register to designate who would be subject to the Expedited Removal provision. If use of Expedited Removal is expanded to the fullest extent of the law- then it could be applied to anyone without proper documentation to enter, no matter where they were apprehended, and cannot show two years or more of continuous presence in the United States prior to the date of the Expedited Removal.
The number of people who will be effected by this expanded use of Expedited Removal will depend on how Secretary Kelly plans to implement the expansion. This raises a number of questions – how will individuals be able to prove their continuous presence for two years prior to apprehension? Do these individuals need to carry documentation with them? Can the determination of less than two years of continuous presence be challenged? Certainly persons taken into custody for Expedited Removal or should contact an experienced immigration lawyer as soon as possible. Expedited Removal Orders may be subject to Administrative review.
On January 25th, President Trump signed and executive order “Enhancing Pubic Safety in the Interior of the United States.” Early this week, Department of Homeland Security Director John Kelly issued a memo further defining removal priorities of the undocumented. Although the new policy memo expands the deportation priorities to almost all undocumented immigrants, the DACA program (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) remains in tact for now. Kelly states “the Department shall faithfully execute the Immigration Laws of the United States against all removable aliens.” Regarding prosecutorial discretion, DHS is directed to initiate removal proceedings against “any alien subject to removal under any provision of the INA.” Clearly every undocumented person is at risk for deportation (with the exception of those who have DACA approval)
With limited resources, it is unlikely that the current number of CPB, ICE, and USCIS officers and officials will allow for mass scale deportation. The priorities are meant to define individuals that the Department should seek out for deportation. Individuals who have been convicted of any criminal offense, charged with any criminal offense that has not been resolved, or have committed acts that constitute a criminal offense are priorities for removal. Criminal offenses are not defined and can presumably be anything from driving without a license to aggravated felonies. Other priorities for deportation are those who engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connected with any official matter before a government agency, anyone who has abused any program related to receipt of public benefits, subject to a final order of removal but failed to leave, or those who pose a risk to public safety or national security. Within these categories, DHS is directed to fast-track removal of Criminal Aliens, bypassing the Immigration Court for any noncitizen convicted of an aggravated felony. To quote Trump “Were getting really bad dudes out of this country and at a rate that nobody’s ever seen before. . . And they’re the bad ones. And its a military operation.”
Enforcing the Immigration Laws of the country also includes the due process afforded to legal permanent residents and undocumented persons that meet certain criteria. In many most cases, undocumented persons are allowed a hearing before an immigration judge. There are certain defenses and waivers are available for some (not all) grounds of . Make sure you talk to an immigration lawyer experienced in removal hearings if you come to the attention of any ICE, CBP, or USCIS official and are eligible for deportation.