We filed a federal lawsuit in August 2019 to challenge the Trump administration’s new rule that massively expands fast-track deportations (called “expedited removal”) without a fair legal process such as a court hearing or access to an attorney.

The expanded expedited removal rule took effect July 23 and targets immigrants nationwide who cannot prove they have been in the U.S. continuously for two years or more.

Prior to the rule, expedited removal was limited to a 100-mile zone from the border; to those who arrived by sea; and to those who had been in the U.S. for 14 days or fewer.

Hundreds of thousands of people living anywhere in the U.S. are at risk of being separated from their families and expelled from the country without any recourse.

We are challenging the expansion of expedited removal as a violation of due process, federal administrative law, and federal immigration law.

The case was filed on behalf of Make the Road New York, LUPE (La Union del Pueblo Entero), and We Count!, organizations that serve immigrant communities.

On September 27, minutes before the new rule was set to go into effect, the district court issued a thorough 126-page opinion granting our motion for a preliminary injunction against the rule. Among the court's key conclusions: the court has the power to hear the case, our clients have legal standing to challenge the government's actions, and the Administration failed to follow procedures required by federal law in implementing the new rule and "engaged in arbitrary and capricious decisionmaking." As the court wrote, "it is the very definition of arbitrariness in rulemaking if an agency refuses to acknowledge (or fails to obtain) the facts and figures that matter prior to exercising its discretion to promulgate a rule."

The government appealed, and in June 2020, the D.C. Circuit reversed the grant of the preliminary injunction. Importantly, the appeals court agreed that the district court had the power to hear the case and that our clients had standing to bring it. However, the appeals court ruled that the district court’s injunction relied on administrative-law requirements that don’t apply to an expansion of expedited removal. The case will be returned to the district court where we can continue to seek relief based on our other legal claims against the rule.

On March 21, 2022, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a Rescission of the Notice of July 23, 2019, Designating Aliens for Expedited Removal, limiting the use of expedited removal to the categories of undocumented immigrants to whom it had been applied in the decades before the Trump administration dramatically expanded it. Our lawsuit, which had been on hold in the district court while the Biden administration decided what to do, will now be dismissed.

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

American Immigration Council, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Date filed

August 6, 2019