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For the Second Week in a Row, Trump Administration Announces New Plans to Target Migrant and Asylum-Seeking Families

For the second week in a row, the Trump administration has announced new plans to target migrant and asylum-seeking families. Tomorrow, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expected to publish a rule in the U.S. Federal Register that would expand Expedited Removal (ER). ER currently allows border officials within 100 miles of the U.S. border to detain and deport undocumented immigrants who have been in the country fewer than two years – without affording them a hearing in front of an immigration judge. The new rule would expand that policy nationwide. There will be no public comment period.

Last week, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Homeland Security published another rule – the interim final rule (IFR) – in the U.S. Federal Register that would effectively end asylum for anyone seeking safety in the U.S. at the border with Mexico.

In anticipation of this latest action by the Trump administration, Michelle Brané, senior director of migrant rights and justice at the Women’s Refugee Commission (WRC), issued the following statement:

“The administration is taking a bad border policy and spreading it across the country. This expansion could force migrants and asylum-seeking families in any part of the nation and at any moment to be forced to prove their residency on the spot or immediately face detention and deportation without due process. That’s tantamount to the United States becoming a ‘show me your papers’ country which thumbs its nose at due process.

“This could result in individuals who otherwise might qualify for deportation relief – if they could defend themselves in immigration court – being unjustly deprived of any opportunity to do so. Expanded ER also could result asylum-seekers being deported to face great harm or even death.

“Such a drastic expansion of ER would lead to many, many more families being separated and would expand detention unnecessarily.

“The Trump administration is doubling down on its effort to curtail access to asylum and continuing its efforts to implement inhumane policies for political gain. The fact is, however, that instilling fear in our communities does not make us stronger. Dismantling rule of law and due process hurts us all, and Americans still believe in the right to seek asylum and safety. Blocking access to protection does not solve anything. When faced with death threats, rampant instances of sexual violence, and persecution, parents will do whatever they can to keep their children safe – even if that means subjecting themselves to Trump’s campaign of hate. None of this is necessary. We can do better. The United States should be facilitating and strengthening our legal procedures, not dismantling them.”