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Experts: Constitutionality of Trump's Expedited Removal Expansion Will Be Litigated "For Years"

March 03, 2017 (1 min read)

David G. Savage, L.A. Times, Mar. 3, 2017 - "The Trump administration’s plan for putting hundreds of thousands of recent migrants in the country illegally onto a fast track for deportation is likely to trigger the next major legal battle over immigration enforcement. ... One part of that effort — the expanded use of what the law refers to as expedited removal — is almost certain to face a constitutional challenge in the courts. ... The Supreme Court has repeatedly said that immigrants, even those who are here illegally, are protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of due process of law. The justices cite the 5th Amendment, which says, “No person shall be … deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law.” Because the language refers to “no person,” not to “no citizen,” its protections cover “even one whose presence in this country is unlawful, involuntary or transitory,” the court said unanimously in 1976. But how much process is due for immigrants who entered illegally or overstayed their visas remains “a gray area,” said UCLA law professor Hiroshi Motomura. “It’s possible that a court might find that a full immigration court hearing isn’t constitutionally required,” he said. But it is also possible “that a single field agent making the decision is constitutionally deficient.” ... Peter Margulies, who teaches immigration law at Roger Williams University in Rhode Island, said due process of law usually refers to the right to a hearing. An immigrant who is arrested “should get a fair chance to present her case. And that means an adversarial hearing before an immigration judge,” he said. “The expanded expedited removal contemplated by the DHS memo is a recipe for runaway discretion.” ... [Supreme Court] rulings, due by June, may clarify the constitutional protections for immigrants, but that would be just a start, said Cornell law professor Stephen Yale-Loehr. “These executive orders have not received the same media attention as the president’s travel bans. But they will eventually impact millions of more people. Many more people will be detained and deported,” he said. “And we will be litigating this for years.”