The Trump administration might be looking to expand deportation powers


The Trump administration might be trying to expand its deportation powers — by a lot.

A George W. Bush-era program allows immigration officials to expedite the deportation of people entering or living in the country illegally if they're apprehended within 100 miles of the Mexican or Canadian border and have been in the U.S. for less than two weeks.

Expedited deportations bypass the courts, meaning the person being deported doesn't go before a judge.

Now, administration officials are reportedly weighing a proposal that would give the Department of Homeland Security even more authority to expedite deportations.

That's according to a memo leaked to The Washington Post. The outlet says the proposal could allow "expedited removal of illegal immigrants apprehended anywhere in the United States who cannot prove they have lived in the country continuously for more than 90 days."

27 PHOTOS
The evolution of the US-Mexico border over 100 years
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The evolution of the US-Mexico border over 100 years

The US established an official border patrol in 1924 with the goal of securing the US-Mexico border. In the photo below, American guards are patting down Mexicans who wish to enter the US.

(Photo by Philipp Kester/ullstein bild via Getty Images)

The Mexicali border station (pictured below in 1929) was surrounded by a tall fence. Cars lined up to cross into California.

(Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Much like today, people coming from Mexico were required to open their bags and suitcases at the border. In this 1937 photo, an agent inspects the possessions of shoppers going from Juarez, Mexico to El Paso, Texas.

(Photo by Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress)

People able to enter the US legally passed via turnstiles, as seen in this 1937 photo. During the Great Depression, Mexican immigrants faced increased risk of deportation as American hostility toward immigrant workers grew.

In 1930, the US started a repatriation program, which offered Mexican immigrants free train rides back to Mexico in an effort to curb immigration. Hundreds of thousands of Mexican immigrants, especially farm workers, were deported during the 1930s.

(Photo by Dorothea Lange/Library of Congress)

In this 1948 photo, two armed American border guards deterred a group of undocumented immigrants from crossing a river into the US.

(Photo by Keystone/Getty Images)

Traveling to Mexico from the US was not nearly as difficult. A Sigma Pi sorority chapter from Calexico, California cross into Tijuana in this 1950 photo.

Undocumented immigration into the US increased after WWII, so in 1954, the government launched Operation Wetback, a program that deported nearly 4 million Mexican immigrants.

(Photo by Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

In 1965, Congress passed the Immigration and Nationality Act, which ended caps on the number of immigrants allowed into the US from a given origin country. The act concentrated on reuniting immigrant families and attracting skilled labor to the US.

The 1965 act changed the ethnic makeup of the US and increased the number of immigrants to the country. Legal immigration grew 60% over the next two decades, with many people coming from Latin America.

(Photo by Warren K Leffler/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)

Friendship Park, dedicated in 1971 in San Diego-Tijuana, was intended to be a bi-national park with wire fencing at the border. In 2009, it closed for the construction of additional steel fencing, and re-opened in 2012.

Source: NBC

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

In 1994, the first National Border Patrol Strategic Plan was developed in response to a perception among some Americans that undocumented immigrants and drug dealers were crossing the US-Mexico border. It included more aggressive prosecution of people trying to cross illegally.

(Photo by David Turnley/Corbis/VCG via Getty Images)

In 1999, the US Border Patrol confiscated record numbers of drugs and money: 11,249 pounds of cocaine, 168,000 pounds of marijuana, and $13.2 million in currency.

(Photo By U.S. Customs/Getty Images)

The American government began building corrugated steel walls stretching eight to 10 feet tall in the early '90s.

Source: CityLab

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

In the late '90s, inspection stations started using an automated program, called SENTRI, for pre-screened motorists to speed up the crossing process.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

In July 2000, 64 special polling stations were set up in border crossing stations so that Mexican voters waiting to cross or living in the US could cast their ballots in the Mexican presidential election.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Newsmakers)

In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, security checks ramped up at the border.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Pedestrians and cars sometimes waited up to six hours to cross into the US.

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Some who knew they couldn't pass legally tried to hide themselves. Agents discovered the sleeping boy pictured below inside the dashboard of a car coming from Mexico in 2003.

(Photo by INS/Getty Images)

Fears about undocumented immigration grew in the US during the early 2000s. In 2005, a group of civilian organizers launched the Minuteman Project, in which over 1,000 volunteers searched a 23-mile stretch of the Arizona desert for undocumented immigrants.

The group has largely splintered since then, but some still regularly patrol the border.

Source: The New York Times

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Border officials detained immigrants who were trying to cross in holding centers like the Arizona one pictured below in 2005.

(Photo by Jeff Topping/Getty Images)

Police discovered this elaborate tunnel, used to smuggle drugs and people into the US, in 2006. The 2,400-foot-long tunnel featured lighting, ventilation, and equipment to pump out ground water.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)

With the 2006 Secure Fence Act, the US started construction on more steel fencing. The boundary now spans around 650 miles and cost approximately $6 billion.

Source: Vice

(Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

From 1998 to 2006, over 2,650 men, women, and children died attempting to cross the US-Mexico border. In the picture below, members of the humanitarian group No More Deaths search for migrants in distress in 2006.

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The Texas state government established Operation Lone Star in 2008, a project that sets up temporary, free healthcare clinics along the Texas border with Mexico. The first one lasted two weeks, and aimed to treat over 10,000 people, no matter their country of origin.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Some immigrants have attempted to cross the border into the US by riding atop freight trains, as seen in this 2013 photo. The journey is dangerous — immigrants risk robbery, assault, and injury from falling off the trains.

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

In 2014, Barack Obama announced an executive action on immigration reform, which granted temporary work permits and indefinite deportation exemptions to four million undocumented immigrants. Before the announcement, Catholic bishops led a mass near the border fence in Arizona to pray for comprehensive reform.

Source: The Washington Post

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

Since taking office, the Trump administration has attempted to start cracking down on immigration. The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 21,362 immigrants from January through mid-March, a 32% jump from the same period last year.

Source: Politico

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Though Trump says his administration will build a wall, the construction timeline and funding sources remain uncertain.

(Photo by Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
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The proposal has already drawn criticism from immigration advocates who say the measures are a drastic change from current law.

But the DHS says the proposed legislation just makes the process more efficient and allows the agency to use the power it already had.

The department is likely referring to a 1996 Congressional ruling that allows officials to expedite deportations of immigrants anywhere in the U.S. who were in the country illegally and couldn't prove they'd been there for at least two years.

A spokesperson for the DHS said no decisions have been made.


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