The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday to block a Trump administration policy that fast-tracks deportations of illegal aliens.
The lawsuit, which was filed on behalf of immigrant-rights groups We Count! and Make the Road New York, argues that President Donald Trump’s expansion of expedited removal has stripped immigrants of due process and has led to wrongful deportations.
“Hundreds of thousands of people living anywhere in the U.S. are at risk of being separated from their families and expelled from the country without any recourse,” ACLU lawyer Anand Balakrishnan said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “This is a dramatic — and illegal — escalation in the Trump administration’s attacks on immigrant communities.”
The case, which specifically targets acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan, was filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
Expedited removal allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers to quickly deport newly-arrived illegal immigrants without going through a tedious immigration court process. The policy has been established for years, and previously applied to aliens who were within 100 miles of the border and were living in the U.S. for 14 days or less.
However, the Trump administration not only expanded the policy nationwide, but it also raised the 14-day limit to two years. The dramatic expansion took effect on July 23.
“This reckless effort to deprive people of their fundamental rights will place countless immigrants at risk, including many people who have been in the United States for years,” Javier H. Valdés, co-executive director of Make the Road New York, said Tuesday. Valdés went on to say that Trump’s expansion of expedited removal poses particular problems for illegal aliens who identify as transgender.
Tuesday’s lawsuit was just the latest in a growing line of court battles between the White House and liberal groups set on blocking Trump’s immigration agenda.
The Supreme Court gave Trump a major victory in late July when it ruled the administration can move forward with border wall construction funded by money reallocated from the military. The ACLU represented the plaintiffs in that case as well. The left-wing group has been behind numerous lawsuits targeting Trump’s immigration policies, including Remain in Mexico and metering.
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