Attorney General James Challenges Trump Administration's Inhumane And Unnecessary Rule That Risks Deportation Of Lawful Residents 

Attorney General James Challenges Trump Administration’s Inhumane and Unnecessary Rule That Risks Deportation of Lawful Residents 

NEW YORK – Attorney General Letitia James, along with a coalition of 17 additional Attorneys General from across the nation, today challenged the Trump Administration’s new rule that vastly expands the use of expedited deportation of immigrants. Under the rule, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is authorized to deport certain individuals living anywhere in the United States without the due process protections afforded in normal removal proceedings — such as the right to an attorney or a hearing before a judge. Lawful residents, U.S. citizens, asylees, or other individuals with legal protections that enable them to remain in the country could be mistakenly subjected to deportation, including the approximately 4.5 million foreign-born immigrants living in New York State.

“The 4.5 million immigrants currently living in New York State, and the millions more nationwide, could be stripped of their rights because of the Trump Administration’s xenophobic actions,” said New York Attorney General Letitia James. “We are fighting back to ensure that every person is afforded appropriate protections under the law, and that this Administration does not rip any more families apart. Everyone in this nation — regardless of legal status — has the right to due process under the U.S. Constitution, and we will not waver in our fight to ensure this protection.”

In an amicus brief filed before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the coalition of Attorneys General urge the court to grant a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of the rule.

Under this update — which was issued without advance notice or opportunity for public comment — the Trump Administration is expanding the use of expedited removals to allow federal officials to deport immigrants from anywhere in the United States under a fast-tracked process that generally does not allow for access to legal representation or witnesses, or a meaningful opportunity to present evidence and defenses. The rule significantly increases the risk that people will be erroneously deported and — for those caught up in the proceedings — virtually eliminates access to the protections afforded during formal immigration hearings.

In 2004, the federal government extended the use of expedited removal to include undocumented individuals who were apprehended within 14 days of arrival in the United States by land and within 100 miles of any land border. Now, the DHS is allowing expedited removal proceedings to be used to deport undocumented immigrants living anywhere in the United States, if the individuals cannot establish — to the satisfaction of a rank and file immigration officer — that they have continuously resided in the country for two years. The modification will deprive individuals of proper legal process and result in final deportation orders that are not generally subject to judicial review.

In the brief, the Attorneys General note that the policy will inflict serious harm on the states’ families and communities, including the over half a million U.S. citizens in New York living with at least one family member who is undocumented. For instance, mixed-status households with both lawful and undocumented residents may be torn apart with little or no time to prepare or seek legal representation. The prospect of sudden and unexpected separation can cause children to experience serious mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. This can manifest in physical symptoms in children, such as engaging in substance abuse, pulling out one’s hair, persistent stomachaches and headaches, and refusing to eat, in addition to other symptoms. These harms are worsened when fears of forcible family separation come true.

Additionally, because of the rule, immigrants may be even less likely to report crime or exploitation or seek needed medical care, negatively affecting both public safety and health. Finally, the rule could have a substantial economic impact on New York and other states across the nation. In New York alone, 2.8 million immigrant workers comprise roughly 27.8 percent of the state’s labor force, and, in 2014, immigrant-led households paid $26.5 billion in federal taxes and $15.9 billion in state and local taxes with $103.3 billion in after-tax income spending power. Undocumented immigrants in New York paid an estimated $1.1 billion in state and local taxes in 2014. Expedited removal of immigrants could end up stripping New York State of millions, or potentially billions, of dollars each year.

Joining Attorney General James in filing the amicus brief are the Attorneys General of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawai’i, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and the District of Columbia.