The Biden administration on Monday (July 26) announced plans to fast-track deportations for some families at the southern border, CNN reports. The process, known as "expedited removal," allows immigration officials to expel people without first giving them a hearing before an immigration judge.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said fast-track removals will apply to migrant families who have not been removed under current COVID-19 border restrictions.
"Attempting to cross into the United States between ports of entry, or circumventing inspection at ports of entry, is the wrong way to come to the United States," DHS said in a statement obtained by CNN.
"These acts are dangerous and can carry long-term immigration consequences for individuals who attempt to do so. The Biden-Harris Administration is working to build a safe, orderly, and humane immigration system, and the Department of Homeland Security continues to take several steps to improve lawful processing at ports of entry and reforms to strengthen the asylum system," the statement continued.
Over the weekend, Brian Hastings, the Border Patrol chief in the Rio Grande Valley, tweeted about "skyrocketing" apprehensions, citing arrests of more than 20,000 migrants in the span of a week in the Rio Grande Valley.
In recent months, arrests of migrant families have grown. In June, Border Patrol apprehended more than 50,000 migrant families, up from 40,815 in May, according to the latest available U.S. Customs and Border Protection data.
Data released by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shows that the number of arrested migrant families has grown significantly in recent months. Border Patrol apprehended more than 50,000 migrant families in June, an increase from 40,815 in May.
According to CNN:
While tens of thousands of families have been turned away as a result of a Trump-era public health order linked to the coronavirus pandemic, the number of families who have been subject to the policy has declined since March, CBP data shows. But the administration has struggled to take in those families, relying on organizations along the border and hotels for processing.
The Biden administration also said in May that it planned to speed up court cases for recently arrived migrant families who are seeking asylum.
It’s typical for immigrants to present their cases before a judge if they want to fight deportation and possibly claim asylum. Court cases, however “can often take months, if not years, because of an immigration court backlog, prompting the effort to set up a process intended to expeditiously work through cases,” CNN reports.
A DHS official told CNN that the administration’s intention isn’t to rush asylum cases, or to undermine due process. Instead, CNN reports that the goal is to offer families “early and ample access to legal representation and judges will not be subject to strict time constraints.”