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Trump’s quick deportation plan may be illegal, past immigration chiefs say

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Former immigration enforcement chiefs are questioning the legality of President Trump’s plan to ramp up a program that allows federal agents to quickly deport suspected undocumented immigrants without appearing before a judge. “Expedited removals” have been in force for 20 years but have only been used against people caught within 100 miles of the U.S.-Mexican border and who are alleged to have entered the country within the previous two weeks. Now, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly has ordered an expansion of the program to apply nationwide and for anyone who entered the country within the previous two years.

That expansion threatens the constitutional rights of undocumented immigrants who may get mistakenly deported, warned John Sandweg, who headed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) under President Obama. “The Supreme Court has consistently held that even undocumented immigrants are entitled to due process,” he said. Sandweg added that expedited removals have been a valuable tool for immigration agents working near the border when they are dealing with clear-cut cases of illegal entry.

Julie Myers Wood, who headed ICE under President George W. Bush, agreed. She said her team considered expanding expedited removals, but decided against it because of legal concerns. She said other aspects of Trump’s tougher immigration enforcement plan also may run afoul of the law. “Many of these authorities have never been used that way,” Wood said. “The administration is really testing the parameters of what’s acceptable. There is some litigation risk there.” Trump laid out his planon Jan. 25, and Kelly issued orders for implementing it Tuesday..

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