Press Release

Attorney General Ellison fights radical new Trump Administration rule that puts legal residents at risk of deportation

Joins 17 other AGs in asking court to block rule that was unlawfully implemented, lacks clear legal standards, and will harm their states and communities

August 22, 2019 (SAINT PAUL) — Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison today joined a coalition of 18 attorneys general in opposing the Trump Administration’s new rule on “expedited removal,” which represents an unprecedented expansion of summary deportation powers and significantly increases the risk that legal residents and U.S. citizens will be mistakenly arrested, detained, and deported. Before the new rule went into effect last month, only undocumented immigrants who were caught within 100 miles of the border within 14 days of entering the country were subject to expedited deportation. Under the radically-expanded new rule, however, suspected undocumented immigrants living anywhere in the United States who have lived in the country for up to two years are now subject to expedited deportation.

In an amicus brief filed in support of plaintiffs in a suit in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Attorney General Ellison and the other attorneys general urge the court to grant a preliminary injunction to halt the implementation of the rule. They argue that the rule was unlawfully announced without providing the normal notice and opportunity for comment, lacks clear legal standards, and will inflict serious harm on their states and communities.

“Regardless of where you were born or how long you’ve lived here, you and your family are Minnesotans entitled to the same dignity and respect as every other Minnesotan. I’m not standing by and letting the Trump administration divide us and our communities from each other. I’m not letting them terrorize Minnesotans of immigrant backgrounds for purely political purposes yet again. And I’m certainly not letting them compromise due process, the bedrock of our judicial system, to make it easier to deport anyone without the change to exercise their rights. I’m in court fighting this rule because it’s cruel, inhumane, and contrary to every value we as Minnesotans hold dear,” Attorney General Ellison said.

“Expedited removal” is a fast-tracked process that virtually eliminates access to the due-process protections that normal deportation hearings afford, such as the right to an attorney, the right to a hearing before an independent immigration judge, the right to present evidence and defenses, or the right to witnesses. Currently, a person caught up in expedited removal is commonly detained and deported within 11 days, leaving no time to find an attorney, gather documents to present in his or her case, or to even communicate with a spouse or U.S. citizen children. There is virtually no appeal or review of an expedited deportation.

The radically-expanded new rule lacks clear legal standards for determining whether someone is subject to expedited deportation. Under it, any individual officer of the Department of Homeland Security can now make that determination on the spot without clear criteria, protocols, burden of proof, or right to review. Any immigrant who cannot quickly prove that they have resided in the United States for two years or longer could be subject to fast-tracked deportation. U.S. citizens, legal residents, people protected by or lawfully pursuing asylum, or other people with legal protections that permit them to remain in the country could be mistakenly subjected to expedited deportation with no opportunity to prove their status. Under the current, limited application of expedited deportation around the border, U.S. citizens have already been wrongfully deported and asylum seekers already have been denied the right to seek protection and been deported, only to be killed by the violence they fled.

In the brief, Attorney General Ellison and the other attorneys general draw attention to the serious harm that the rule may inflict on families and communities in Minnesota and the other states. For instance, mixed-status households with both lawful and undocumented residents may be torn apart, potentially mistakenly, with little or no time to prepare or seek legal representation. The prospect of sudden and unexpected separation may cause children, many of whom are U.S. citizens, to experience serious mental health problems, including depression and anxiety, which may be worsened when families are forcibly separated. In addition, the new rule may make immigrants even less likely to report crime or exploitation, even when they are victims, or to seek needed medical care, posing public-safety and public-health problems for all communities.

In filing the amicus brief, Attorney General Ellison joined California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led the brief, and the attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.

A copy of the brief is available on the website of California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.