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LCR, Sept. 2019
"Civil Rights and Community Groups File Lawsuit Challenging Sweeping Expedited Removal Immigration Policy in Federal Court
Lawyers for Civil Rights (LCR) and Ropes and Gray LLP filed a federal lawsuit in the District of Columbia challenging the Trump Administration’s unprecedented plan to subject thousands of immigrants to “expedited removal” – a process that allows low-level immigration officers to short-circuit normal immigration procedures and summarily deport individuals without counsel and without oversight by an immigration judge.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Centro Presente and the Pioneer Valley Worker Center, two membership organizations with thousands of affected members, as well as a number of brave individuals who are now subject to expedited removal under the government’s new policy. It seeks to stop an unconscionable and illegal expansion of expedited removal, which has traditionally been limited primarily to immigrants who just crossed the border and were apprehended close to it. The rule being challenged in today’s lawsuit seeks to dramatically expand the program to cover any immigrant in the United States who cannot prove residency for over two years, placing all such individuals at risk of immediate removal from the country, without any of the protections afforded in the normal immigration process.
“The massive expansion of the expedited removal program puts all of our communities in jeopardy and stokes unnecessary fear,” said Iván Espinoza-Madrigal, executive director of Lawyers for Civil Rights. “We are a country where due process rights are paramount, and we will fight to protect those rights for everyone residing here.”
“People are fleeing dangerous conditions and making a harrowing journey to come to the United States,” said Patricia Montes, executive director of Centro Presente. “It is shameful that our government would then seek to immediately remove people back to those dangerous conditions.”
“As our lawsuit explains, this action by the Department of Homeland Security violates important due process protections and is improper for a number of other reasons; thus, DHS’s action should be nullified by the court,” said Andrew Thomases, partner, Ropes & Gray.
“Individuals who emigrate to the United States are protected by law. Our lawsuit seeks urgent review to vindicate those rights for our clients,” said Kirsten Mayer, partner, Ropes & Gray.
Centro Presente and the Pioneer Valley Worker Center have thousands of members, many of who have been drastically affected by the expansion of expedited removal. The lawsuit seeks to restore the status quo and ensure basic protections for immigrants and immigrant communities.
The complaint is available here:"