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The Rise of Speed Deportation and the Role of Discretion

September 24, 2014 (1 min read)

"In 2013, the majority of people deported never saw a courtroom or immigration judge, and instead were quickly removed by the Department of Homeland Security.  The policy goals of speed deportation are economic because government resources like a trial attorney, immigration judge and a fundamentally fair hearing are saved.  Higher deportation numbers may also benefit the image the government seeks to portray to policymakers who support amplified immigration enforcement.  However, the human consequences of speed deportation are significant and can result in the ejection of people who qualify for relief before an immigration judge or otherwise present strong equities like family ties, long term residence and steady employment in the United States.  Moreover, the risk that the government may wrongly classify a person as a candidate for speed deportation is more than a remote possibility.  This Article examines deportations resulting from the expedited removal, administrative removal and reinstatement of removal orders programs and the extent to which the government has discretion to give individuals who present compelling equities, including eligibility for relief, a more complete court proceeding before an immigration judge.  This Article also explores the possibility that an agency’s decision to place a person in speed deportation instead of a full court proceeding is “arbitrary and capricious” under administrative law." - Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia, Penn State Law, August 25, 2014.