Court Battles

Judge halts Trump administration policy to fast-track deportations

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A judge has temporarily blocked a Trump administration policy that aimed to expedite the deportation of migrants who can’t prove they have been in the U.S. for more than two years. 

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson in Washington, D.C., issued a preliminary injunction late Friday following a request from civil rights groups suing over the policy.

“Both the public interest and the balance of the harms weigh in favor of the issuance of a preliminary injunction,” wrote Jackson, an Obama appointee. 

“Consequently, DHS is prohibited from applying the expanded expedited removal policy to anyone to whom it would apply, while this action proceeds,” she added, referring to the Department of Homeland Security.{mosads}

The policy seeks to expand on an existing policy that permits low-level officials to fast-track deportation without a hearing within 100 miles of the border and for individuals who have been in the country less than two weeks.

The expansion would affect migrants anywhere in the U.S., beyond those who arrive by sea and who haven’t been in the country for at least two years.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), American Immigration Council and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP filed a lawsuit challenging the policy last month

“The court rejected the Trump administration’s illegal attempt to remove hundreds of thousands of people from the U.S. without any legal recourse,” ACLU attorney Anand Balakrishnan said in a statement on the preliminary injunction. “This ruling recognizes the irreparable harm of this policy.”

A Justice Department spokesman slammed the ruling in a statement to The Hill on Saturday, saying it “undermines” congressional law and its implementation.

“Congress expressly authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security to act with dispatch to remove from the country aliens who have no right to be here,” the spokesman said. “The district court’s decision squarely conflicts with that express grant of authority and vastly exceeds the district court’s own authority. This ruling undermines the laws enacted by Congress and the Trump Administration’s careful efforts to implement those laws.”

The Hill has also reached out to DHS for comment.

DHS has touted the policy as a measure to “enhance national security and public safety — while reducing government costs — by facilitating prompt immigration determinations.”

Updated: 12:12 p.m.

Tags ACLU American Civil Liberties Union Immigration
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