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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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August 8, 2019


Process Allows Immigration Agents to Deport Individuals without Judges or Hearings

Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today condemned the federal government’s newly expanded expedited removal process, which allows immigration officials to deny immigrants a hearing in front of an immigration judge while ordering them to be removed from the United States.

Under the process the U.S. Department of Homeland Security enacted last month, federal immigration agents anywhere in the country, including Illinois, can initiate the so-called “expedited removal” of any person who is unable to prove to an agent that they have resided in the United States continuously for at least two years and meets certain other conditions. The American Immigration Council and the American Civil Liberties Union of the District of Columbia (ACLU-DC) have filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the process on behalf of immigrant advocacy groups.

“The administration’s expedited removal process authorizes immigration agents to engage in racial profiling and puts the nearly 2 million immigrants living in Illinois at risk of being arbitrarily interrogated and removed from our country,” Raoul said. “Authorizing immigration agents to bypass a judge and order immigrants to be deported is outrageous, and nothing could be less American than this denial of due process.”

The process gives U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other immigration authorities the power to question individuals about their residence in the United States and places the burden of proof on immigrants – rather than immigration agents. Individuals subject to this questioning by immigration officials must be able to demonstrate that they have resided in the U.S. “continuously” for at least two years in order to avoid deportation. The expedited removal process allows immigration agents to now circumvent the court and order people to be “removed from the United States without further hearing or review” if they believe sufficient proof or documentation of residence has not been provided.

According to the federal expedited removal statute, people seeking asylum or expressing a fear of persecution in their home countries can be exempt from the new policy. Federal laws and regulations require immigration officers to refer to asylum officers individuals who intend to seek asylum or fear persecution in their home countries. Additionally, federal regulations require immigration officers to review all available data and resources to attempt to verify any person’s claim of U.S. citizenship, permanent residence, and refugee or asylum status.

Raoul’s office is evaluating the constitutionality of the expedited removal process. Until the new expansion, immigration agents were limited to enforcement of expedited removal within 100 air miles of the U.S. border of individuals in the country for no more than two weeks.

Attorney General Raoul encouraged immigrants living in Illinois and immigration advocates to be aware of the expanded process and access additional information available on the National Immigrant Justice Center’s website. Raoul also encouraged state and local law enforcement officials to access his office’s online Guidance to Law Enforcement on authority under Illinois and federal law to engage in immigration enforcement.

The Attorney General’s office also offers “Know Your Rights” resources for immigrants and immigration advocates free of charge on the Attorney General’s website. Information is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Polish, Serbian and Urdu, along with a mobile version and printable pocket-sized guide. The materials summarize people’s rights if confronted by an immigration agent or a police officer, detail what to expect if immigration agents or police officers come to your home, and offer an explanation of your rights if you are arrested. They also provide important reminders about immigration documentation, tips for avoiding dishonest immigration service providers and links to additional resources.

The Attorney General’s office does not request information about immigration or citizenship status from anyone who contacts the office or files a complaint. Attorney General Raoul encourages individuals to contact his office to report instances of discrimination or harassment by calling his Civil Rights Hotline at 1-877-581-3692.


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