Homeland Security Mulls Expanding Deportation Powers

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The Trump administration is weighing a new policy to expand dramatically the Department of Homeland Security’s powers to expedite the deportations of some illegal immigrants, the Washington Post reports. Since 2004, the agency has been authorized to bypass immigration courts only for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally for under two weeks and were apprehended within 100 miles of the border. Under the proposal, the agency would be empowered to seek the expedited removal of illegal immigrants apprehended anywhere in the U.S. who cannot prove they have lived in the country continuously for more than 90 days.

The new guidelines, if enacted, would represent a major expansion of the agency’s authority to speed up deportations. The proposed new policy would not require congressional approval. DHS spokeswoman Joanne Talbot said no final decisions have been made by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly. “The potential changes would allow DHS to more efficiently use resources to remove persons who have been illegally present for relatively brief periods of time while still observing due-process requirements,” Talbot said. Immigrant rights advocates denounced the proposed expansion of the expedited deportation authority. They warned that it would strip more immigrants of due-process rights to seek asylum or other legal protections that would allow them to remain in the U.S.

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