DHS Deceptive On Expedited Removal—And Paralyzed By Bureaucratic Battling

The public relations campaign launched by the post-9/11 Federal immigration bureaucracy—specifically the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its Customs and Border Protection (CBP) division—conceals a scandalous reality: immigration non-enforcement and an agency-wide kicking-and-screaming reluctance to actually implement summary removal authority granted by Congress almost ten years ago.

But that's only the beginning.  Reports from the field tell of institutionalized malaise and bureaucratic infighting, which persist long after the much-criticized Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) was abolished.

Considering that summary removal is so vitally important for immigration law enforcement—see my Absolutely Definitive Essay on the subject—the DHS disinformation on expedited removal at the border is astounding.

Consider the following:

  • The latest announcement on January 30 by the DHS that the federal government now "Streamlines Removal Process Along Entire U.S. Border" says nothing about the actual history of expedited removal under Section 235(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

  • But the current Section 235(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act was passed by Congress along with amendments called the "Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996" (IIRIRA). The IIRIRA legislation was signed by President Clinton on September 30, 1996. It became effective on April 1, 1997.

  • This allows for the summary removal of illegal aliens found anywhere in the United States—within two years of entering illegally(It's all right there in Immigration Act Section 235(b)(1)(A)(iii).)  It's just never been implemented. So much for the DHS' press releases.

  • Unfortunately, as I've written again and again, the much loved (by real immigration reformers) but hated and feared (by the Treason Lobby) immigration bill, H.R. 4437, passed last year by the House of Representatives, actually undercuts the 1996 expedited removal authority already on the books. It only allows the summary removal of illegal aliens found within 100 miles of a land border within 14 days of entry...the same standard already implemented in limited regulations by the DHS.

But that's not all, folks.

Although the Clinton/ Bush Administrations have implemented only a fraction of the summary removal authority that has existed since 1997, the immigration bureaucracy has thrown up even more roadblocks against expedited removal  and the accompanying "credible fear" review process.

Out of longstanding bureaucratic inertia, the CBP and the Immigration Inspectors stationed at border ports of entry (POEs) and the U.S. Border Patrol are engaged in a game of "hot potato" with illegal aliens.

I just received some interesting information on this issue from a whistleblowing VDARE.com reader.  Here's the report . . . hot off the press and straight from the front lines of the border via e-mail on February 21:

"In the past, if an OTM [an alien 'other than Mexican'] arrived to the POE [port of entry] from the north, we would call Border Patrol and they would pick them up for processing.  Now, any OTM that arrives to the POE, no matter how they cross into the U.S., is to be processed by the POE.  All OTMs, except El Salvadorans, are to be ER'd [given "expedited removal"] under Immigration Act Section 235(b)] and detained until removal.  El Salvadorans will be NTA'd [issued charting documents for EOIR Immigration Court called 'notices to appear'] and served with Orantes rights, [Recycled VDARE.COM NOTE: The Orantes decision was based on Cold War politics; there was a guerilla war going on in El Salvador in the 1980s. But the Cold War has been over for some time, even in El Salvador] I-217 & I-862. If there is no space in detention they will be released.

This is obviously more efficient. But…

"The legacy Immigration Inspectors are happy for the chance to do their jobs, the one they've trained for.  However, the legacy customs management is quite upset.  It seems they do not want to do immigration work.  As I told you in the past, legacy customs management does not play well with the Border Patrol (BP), actually they hate them.  They are trying to do anything they can to get the decision reversed.

My reader provided an example:

"One evening, nine OTMs showed up at a POE. [Remember, OTM illegals regularly surrender and claim asylum because know that the EOIR process will let them stay in the U.S. while their request is being processed]. This group consisted of two adult females and seven children.  It was cold, rainy and windy.  These people were also a little hungry.  A legacy Customs supervisor, GS-12 instructed this group to go back out on the street, head towards a certain area and flag down a BP vehicle.  [VDARE.COM emphasis] A Legacy Immigration GS-13 says, without really saying it or mentioning names, that the Customs supervisor did this by orders of another Customs GS-14.

"These folks [the aliens] found the BP.  The BP agents took them to the station for processing.  During processing, the adults informed BP that they were at the POE and were told to go back out on the street and find a BP vehicle.  Well, as you can imagine, BP is very upset about this.  I understand that OIG [the Office of Inspector General] was informed."

This is not the difference between being deported and staying. Apparently, the former Customs officials just don't want to do any immigration work at all.

Obviously, the DHS should rethink its public relations slogans: "One team, One fight" . . . and "One face at the border."

America desperately needs to have expedited removal implemented—but this continued bureaucratic battling bodes ill for any system of enforcement at all.

Juan Mann [email him] is an attorney and the proprietor of DeportAliens.com. He writes a weekly column for VDARE.com and contributes to Michelle Malkin's Immigration BLOG.