Federal Judge Ruins Trump’s Weekend With Immigration Rebuke

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Although all eyes have been lately on the Democrats’ recently announced formal impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, there’s still a lot of activity on other fronts too. Now, a federal judge has blocked their team’s ongoing attempt to dramatically expand those eligible for expedited removal from the United States. As the plan updated, those subject to possible removal would have expanded from those in the country for less than two weeks to those in the U.S. for less than two years. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) had apparently participated in a lawsuit against the arbitrary policy change, which sparked the current ruling.

If allowed to go into effect, the “expedited removal” process it expanded would have included no opportunity for a hearing to those subjected to it. In other words, on the basis of nationality and/or ethnic background, Constitutionally-mandated due process would have been denied to vast swaths of individuals who’d have been left subject only to the whims of an immigration system with documented bias against them.

D.C.-area U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson shared:

‘Both the public interest and the balance of the harms weigh in favor of the issuance of a preliminary injunction… Consequently, DHS is prohibited from applying the expanded expedited removal policy to anyone to whom it would apply, while this action proceeds.’

ACLU attorney Anand Balakrishnan shared in response:

‘The court rejected the Trump administration’s illegal attempt to remove hundreds of thousands of people from the U.S. without any legal recourse. This ruling recognizes the irreparable harm of this policy.’

As noted in the original complaint driving the lawsuit:

‘DHS deports individuals subject to expedited removal soon after apprehension, without any opportunity to speak with an attorney; to gather evidence or call witnesses; or to present a claim for relief from removal, other than a truncated process for expressing fear of persecution.’

This situation is not the first time in which Trump and his cronies have sought to roll back basic due process for immigrants. At one point, Trump outright said the U.S. should “get rid of” immigration judges, who separately have received demands from the Trump administration to pick up the pace of the cases they’re processing.

Neither is this situation the first in which the Trump team has sought to roll back rights for asylum seekers and immigrants in general. Just recently, the conservative majority U.S. Supreme Court allowed a policy to go into effect that would essentially flatly deny asylum to the majority of people arriving at the southern U.S. border, blocking all those who’d spent time in a country other than their place of origin before arriving in the United States.

The Trump team has cited the change as necessary for things like freeing time and space to deal with a large backlog of cases. These are the same people, though, who’ve said things like that the poem at the bottom of the Statue of Liberty just covers white people, so it’s not like even the slightest level of benefit of the doubt is warranted.

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