President Donald Trump’s administration is analyzing whether to implement a new policy that would make it much easier to quickly deport illegal immigrants from the United States, reports the Washington Post. Since 2004, the Department of Homeland Security has had the authority to quickly deport immigrants who have been illegally in the country for less than two weeks and were detained within 100 miles of the border. But under the new policy currently being analyzed as part of a broad overhaul, Homeland Security’s expedited-deportation power would extend to illegal immigrants apprehended anywhere in the country who cannot prove they have been inside the United States for more than 90 days.
The new policy, which would not require approval from Congress, was part of a 13-page memo that made the rounds at the White House in May. So far, no final decisions have been made. “The potential changes would allow DHS to more efficiently use resources to remove persons who have been illegally present for relatively brief periods of time while still observing due-process requirements,” a Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman told the Post.
Immigrant rights’ advocates, however, disagreed with that assessment, saying the proposal would hurt the rights of immigrants and make it harder for them to seek asylum. “This is a radical departure from current policy and practice, which takes one giant step towards implementing Trump’s deportation force across the nation,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. Lee Gelernt, the deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants Rights Project, said that expanding the power of Homeland Security would amount to a “recipe for disaster” that could be the prelude to “mass deportations.”