Noncriminal immigrants facing Trump's deportation force need legalization, not lawyers. By Nolan Rappaport
New York announced last week that it is allocating $10 million in its FY2018 budget for creating a legal defense fund to provide lawyers for immigrants facing deportation.
Legal defense funds will not stop President Donald Trump from deporting millions of undocumented, noncriminal aliens. Lawyers are needed for removal proceedings before an immigration judge, and he will not be using the immigration court system.
As of the end of January 2017, the immigration court’s backlog was 542,411 cases. Even if no additional cases are filed, that backlog represents more than a two-and-a-half-year workload for the court's judges.
His plan for bypassing immigration court proceedings is described in the Executive Order he issued on January 25, 2017, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements.” Section 11(c) of the Executive Order directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to use expedited removal proceedings to the full extent of the law. In expedited removal proceedings, an immigration officer can order the removal of an alien summarily without a hearing before an immigration judge.
Federal court review is available, but it is restricted to cases in which the alien makes a sufficient claim to being a United States citizen or to having lawful permanent resident status, or to having been admitted previously under specified circumstances, such as with refugee status.
Expedited removal proceedings were authorized by the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA).
In FY 2013, approximately 193,000 persons were deported from the United States through expedited removal proceedings. This is 44 percent of the 438,000 removals that year.
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Published originally on The Hill.
About the author.
Nolan Rappaport was detailed to the House Judiciary Committee as an Executive Branch Immigration Law Expert for three years; he subsequently served as an immigration counsel for the Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security, and Claims for four years. Prior to working on the Judiciary Committee, he wrote decisions for the Board of Immigration Appeals for 20 years. He also has been a policy advisor for the DHS Office of Information Sharing and Collaboration under a contract with TKC Communications, and he has been in private practice as an immigration lawyer at Steptoe & Johnson.