Protect yourself against new expedited removal rule
Expedited removal, a form of removal (deportation) that does not require a hearing or review by an immigration judge, has been around for several years. Until now, it has only applied to people who have been in the US for less than 2 years and who are within 100 miles of the US border. As of July 23, 2019, it has been expanded to include the entire country, not just areas within 100 miles of the border.
What you need to know:
Expedited removal can be applied to people present anywhere in the United States who entered without proper documents or by fraud who have not been properly admitted or paroled into the country.
Who will it affect?
As written, the rule should only affect those who are not legally present if they have been in the United States for less than 2 years. However, concerns about how this may be instituted mean that people who don’t fall into this category may still be affected. Consider it this way: if you were stopped on the street right now, do you have documentation to prove that you are legally present or that you have been in the country two years or more?
How do I protect myself?
Right now, this is a difficult question to answer. If you do not have status but have been in the United States over 2 years, you should keep on you at all times proof of the time you have been in the US.
If you are a naturalized citizen with limited English skills, you may want to carry proof of your US citizenship. If you have legal status or deferred action (can include permanent resident (LPR, greencard holder), DACA, other visa, etc.) you should carry around a copy of the document noting your status at all times.
If you are ‘picked up’ under this or any other circumstance and are afraid to return to your home country, you should express that fear of return to immigration officials.
What kind of proof is needed?
Again, it is difficult to know, but you should maintain proof of 2+ years of residence inside the US if you do not have lawful status in the US. This can include children’s birth certificates, copies of leases, medical records, school records, or similar documents that would show you’ve been in the US more than two years. Wage records (pay stubs or pay summaries) are another option, but if you are working unlawfully, we recommend you find other ways to prove your time in the US.
Didn’t this happen already?
President Trump issued an executive order with this directive on January 25, 2017, but this had continued to be limited to areas within 100 miles of the border. Today, July 23, 2019, is the first day that expedited removal is being expanded across the entire country.
As this is a new rule that was enacted from one day to another, we are still learning more about it and ways to protect against it. As has happened to many other rules and policies stemming from this administration, this rule will likely end up in the courts soon. We will keep you updated as we find out more.