What is expedited removal?

Expedited removal is the process by which the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) quickly deports inadmissible aliens from the United States. Under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, aliens that are “inadmissible” or unable to be lawfully admitted may be deported. An alien is admissible when he or she presents valid documents allowing entry into the United States.

Establishing Proof of Admissibility to the United States

Examples of valid documents for admission to the United States are a visa and valid I-94 Record of Arrival/Departure issued in the alien’s own name. Another form of admission is being “waived through,” or “paroled” into the country. An alien who is admitted with a re-entry permit or some other conditional form of permission to enter the United States is said to be paroled in.

Illegal Entry and Expedited Removal

Entry without inspection by a U.S. official constitutes illegal entry. Similarly, entry using counterfeit, altered, or otherwise fraudulent documents, does not constitute proper “admission” into the United States. Rather, aliens who attempt to enter by sneaking past immigration authorities or using someone else’s entry documents are said to perpetrate a fraud on the government by seeking an immigration benefit and are subject to expedited removal if caught.

A common example of expedited removal occurs when a foreign national uses someone else’s documents allowing legal entry into the United States. Counterfeit visas, passports, and I-94 cards are sold on the black market. They are usually issued in someone else’s name. Almost every entry or admission into the United States is done by fingerprinting or scanning the identity document of the alien seeking ingress.

After entering the United States, intending aliens who then seek to obtain status are required to submit biometrics as part of their applications for relief. These fingerprints and the standard background checks later reveal that the alien used, as a hypothetical example, someone else’s border crossing card to gain admission into the country. The picture on the card is different, but the fingerprints are the same. This is how the Department of Homeland Security discovers the alien was previously deported, but re-entered the United States without inspection.

Once it is determined that the alien used altered, counterfeit, or fraudulent documents to enter, DHS has authority to send the alien back home. Depending on the distance, this may be accomplished by land, sea, or air. When the alien next crosses the border unseen, the consequences of the prior expeditious removal are not immediately apparent, but almost always have a deleterious effect on the alien’s ability to seek future relief from removal.

Consequences of Expedited Removal and Getting Help

A prior expedited removal order makes the alien inadmissible to the United States and bars his or her return for up to 10 years, depending on how long he or she was unlawfully present in the country. Because unlawful presence in the United States begins to run from the time of expedited removal, it’s best to consult an immigration attorney to explore your options to return to or seek relief in the United States after this occurs.