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Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul
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January 24, 2020


Chicago — Attorney General Kwame Raoul today joined a coalition of 22 attorneys general in filing an amicus brief opposing the federal government’s legally flawed attempts to vastly expand the use of expedited removal by immigration agents. Expedited removal is a fast-tracked process that allows an immigration officer to issue an immediate order of removal from the country without an immigrant being given access to legal representation, witnesses, or a meaningful opportunity to present evidence and defenses. Raoul and the coalition are urging the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia to uphold a September 2019 injunction that prevented the expansion from going into effect.

“The administration’s expedited removal process authorizes immigration agents to engage in racial profiling and puts immigrants living in Illinois at risk of being arbitrarily interrogated and removed from our country,” Raoul said. “This rule is unfair and unlawful and I will continue to fight against this rule and work to ensure that the rights of all people living in this country are protected.”

In 2017, 35 percent of all removals from the United States were conducted through expedited removal. At that time, expedited removal applied to individuals apprehended within 14 days of entry into the United States and within 100 miles of the border. In July 2019, the federal government announced it was immediately expanding expedited removal to apply anywhere in the United States to individuals who cannot establish that they are lawfully in the country, have continuously resided within the country for two years, or have a credible fear of violence or persecution if returned to their home countries. Citing an earlier amicus brief filed by Raoul and a coalition of 18 attorneys general, a federal district court in September issued a preliminary injunction to prevent the expansion of expedited removal from taking effect while litigation is ongoing.

In today’s amicus brief, Raoul and the coalition argue that the policy would inflict serious harm on families and communities. Mixed-status households with both lawful and undocumented residents may be torn apart with little or no time to prepare or seek legal representation. The prospect of sudden and unexpected separation can cause children to experience serious mental health problems, including depression and anxiety. Raoul and the coalition also note that the district court correctly concluded that the federal government likely violated the Administrative Procedure Act by significantly expanding an already flawed process without adequately considering the consequences.

Attorney General Raoul encourages immigrants living in Illinois and immigration advocates to be aware of the expanded process and access additional information available on the National Immigrant Justice Center’s website. Raoul also encouraged state and local law enforcement officials to access his office’s online Guidance to Law Enforcement on authority under Illinois and federal law to engage in immigration enforcement.

The Attorney General’s office also offers “Know Your Rights” resources for immigrants and immigration advocates free of charge on the Attorney General’s website. Information is available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Hindi, Polish, Serbian and Urdu, along with a mobile version and printable pocket-sized guide.

Joining Raoul in the brief are the attorneys general of California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington.


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