July 25, 2019
WASHINGTON— On Tuesday, the Administration significantly expanded the use of a controversial fast-track removal or “expedited removal” process for migrants suspected of being undocumented, and includes migrants who cannot prove to an immigration officer that they have resided in the United States continuously for two years or longer. This move by the Administration gives the Department of Homeland Security authority to remove migrants suspected of being undocumented from the United States while circumventing important due process protections. Most Reverend Joe S. Vásquez, Bishop of Austin, Texas, Chair of the of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Migration, issued the following statement:
“I call on the Department of Homeland Security to reverse its decision to expand its policy of expedited removal. This action is yet another escalation of this Administration’s enforcement-only immigration approach, and it will have terrible human consequences. The new policy will allow for the deportation of many more individuals without providing them an opportunity to seek legal counsel and have a hearing before an immigration judge.
Even those migrants who have long-standing ties to the U.S. and have been in the country for more than the requisite two years required under the new policy may now be subjected to expedited removal if they are unable to prove such to the satisfaction of an individual immigration officer.
The implementation of this new policy will have unjust and unacceptable results and lead to more widespread family separation, stoking fear in our communities.”