Today, Kevin K. McAleenan, the Acting Secretary of Homeland Security, announced a new designation of aliens subject to expedited removal that applies to certain aliens encountered anywhere in the country within two years of illegal entry. Use of expedited removal pursuant to the new designation is expected to alleviate some of the burden and capacity issues currently faced by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) by allowing DHS to more quickly remove certain aliens.
Mr. McAleenan states, “The new designation adds one more tool for DHS—utilizing specific authority from Congress—to confront the ongoing security and humanitarian crisis on the Southwest border and throughout the country.” He continues, “We are past the breaking point and must take all appropriate action to enforce the law, along the U.S. borders and within the country’s interior. This designation makes it clear that if you have no legal right to be here, we will remove you.”
The new designation will take effect immediately as it has already been published in the Federal Register here. Consistent with current laws, unaccompanied alien children are not subject to expedited removal under the new or any previous designation. Additionally, any alien who indicates an intention to apply for asylum or expresses a fear of persecution, torture, or of returning to his or her country, will be referred for an interview with an asylum officer.
The Immigration and Nationality Act gives the Acting Secretary “sole and unreviewable discretion” to designate certain aliens as subject to expedited removal pursuant to a 1996 law. The new designation allows for the expedited removal for aliens arriving by land with the longstanding process for aliens arriving by sea and applies to certain aliens encountered between 14 days and two years of entry within 100 miles of the border, or within two years of entry anywhere in the United States. This new designation is separate from, but complements, a 2004 designation that applies to aliens encountered within 14 days of entry and within 100 miles of the border.