A question that gets asked often is: what is “expedited removal” and how does it differ from traditional removal proceedings? Expedited removal is the process of removing (deporting) a foreign national without going through a formal procedure such as removal court proceedings. This affects the person’s due process rights. Immigration officers can quickly deport individuals who arrive at the border or who are apprehended within two weeks of arrival and within 100 miles of either border (Canada or Mexico). In contrast, when a foreign national has been present in the U.S. for many years, they cannot be expeditiously removed; instead, they must be afforded certain procedural rights. They are provided a Notice To Appear (charging document) and are referred to the immigration court. In 2019, the Trump administration directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to expand expedited removal to anyone who is undocumented and has been in the U.S. for less than two years.

Expedited removal is typically used at U.S. borders or points of entry. Anyone who attempts to enter the U.S. is required to be inspected by customs (CBP). For example, someone who gets on a plane and travels from India to the U.S. will have to go through U.S. customs for inspection and admission. If Customs and Border Protection determines that this individual is ineligible to enter the U.S., CBP can use expedited removal to return the foreign national to where he or she came from without formal due process and without the foreign national ever being admitted into the U.S. beyond arriving at the airport. There are some exceptions. For example, where an individual asserts a claim for asylum, the CBP will refer him or her to an immigration judge for an asylum-only hearing.

Expedited removal comes with a harsh penalty. If one is expeditiously removed, his or her visa is automatically canceled, and a bar is placed from entering the U.S. for a period of five (5) years. Sometimes, a foreign national can negotiate with CBP and avoid expedited removal. Seeking voluntary departure for example is one way of avoiding the five-year bar.

If you have a family member coming to visit the U.S., it is advisable to consult with a qualified immigration attorney to avoid potential problems with CBP.

**THIS IS NOT INTENDED TO BE LEGAL ADVICE. EVERY CASE IS DIFFERENT. YOU SHOULD CONSULT AN IMMIGRATION ATTORNEY TO DETERMINE HOW THIS GENERAL INFORMATION IMPACTS YOUR SPECIFIC CASE.