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Attorney General Nessel Fights Trump Administration Rule Increasing Risk of Unfounded Deportation

LANSING – Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel recently joined a coalition of 21 other Attorneys General in filing an amicus brief opposing the Trump administration’s legally flawed attempts to immediately expand the use of expedited removal. 

Expedited removal is a fast-tracked deportation process that generally prohibits access to legal representation, witnesses or an opportunity to present evidence and defenses against deportation. Individuals are exempt from expedited removal if they have a credible or reasonable fear of persecution or torture in their home country. Expedited removal previously applied to individuals apprehended within 14 days of entry into the United States and within 100 miles of the border, but in July 2019, the Trump administration moved to amend the process. Expedited removal now applies to any individual in the United States individual who cannot establish they are lawfully in the country, have continuously resided within the country for two years, or have a credible fear of violence or persecution if returned to their home countries.

“My colleagues and I cannot in good conscience stand by while President Trump seeks to undermine our efforts to keep immigrants safe,” said Nessel. “I have a commitment to the more than 650,000 immigrants who have made Michigan home.”

Since 2008, nearly 1,000 Michigan residents were subjected to the expedited removal process and sent home to countries where they faced potentially severe consequences. Deporting immigrants hurts Michigan’s economy, as immigrants make up around 10% of the state’s workforce, pay approximately $6.7 billion in state and local taxes, have a spending power of $18.2 billion, and comprise close to 34,000 of the state’s entrepreneurs.

In September 2019, a federal district court issued a preliminary injunction preventing the expansion of the expedited removal process from going into effect, which the Trump administration then appealed. In the amicus brief, the coalition urges the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to uphold the injunction.

In their brief, the coalition argues that the district court correctly concluded that the Trump administration likely violated the Administrative Procedure Act by expanding an already flawed process without considering the consequences. Experts say that the system is filled with problems and has been misused to deport U.S. citizens, legitimate asylum-seekers, longtime residents with family who are U.S. citizens, children, individuals with valid work and tourist visas, and more.

The Attorneys General also note the policy would inflict serious harm on mixed-status households. These households may be torn apart with little or no time to prepare or seek legal representation. The prospect of sudden and unexpected separation can cause children to experience serious mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.

Attorney General Nessel joins the Attorneys General of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington in filing this amicus brief.

A copy of the brief is available here.