The Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRIRA) created a new, formal process for deportation called expedited removal. This process was established by Congress to remove certain inadmissible aliens from the United States. The law authorized the Commissioner of the Immigration and Naturalization Service to designate certain groups of individuals for placement in expedited removal proceedings. Under expedited removal, individuals can be removed on an order issued by an INS officer. The U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) began implementing the expedited removal provisions of IIRIRA on April 1, 1997.
Experienced INS officers review the cases of people subject to expedited removal. When an individual in expedited removal is found inadmissible, the officer may issue a removal order, and this order has the same weight as one issued by an immigration judge. Before the removal order is issued, a senior-level supervisory immigration officer must review the decision. People removed from the United States under expedited removal are barred from re-entry for a period of five years but can apply for a waiver.
Prior to implementing expedited removal, INS developed extensive, detailed regulations and procedures that go far beyond the statutory requirements to ensure fair and consistent application of the law. These regulations, which were developed following public comment and input from various immigrant, legal and community-based groups, and the statute as enacted by Congress, form the framework under which INS administers the expedited removal process.
Since the implementation of expedited removal, only a very small percentage of people in the process have been asylum-seekers. However, INS is committed to protecting the rights of aliens fleeing persecution and torture, and the expedited removal procedures have extensive safeguards designed to protect the rights of asylum seekers. No alien can be expeditiously removed from the United States until they have read, and acknowledge they understand, a sworn statement and have been asked specific questions concerning whether they have a concern or fear of being returned to their home country.
Any alien who, in response to these questions, indicates intent to apply for asylum, or a fear of persecution, torture or return is referred for an interview with an INS asylum officer. INS officers are directed to err on the side of caution, and refer any questionable cases to an asylum officer. INS officers consider not only verbal indications of a fear of persecution but also consider non-verbal indications such as shaking, perspiration, sweating, hysteria and even silence.
Monitoring and Oversight
INS is committed to ensuring that all districts implement the appropriate expedited removal procedures in full compliance with the statute, accompanying regulations and field guidance.
All immigration officers who conduct expedited removal proceedings have been trained in how to implement the statutory provisions and regulations.
Asylum Claims - Ensuring Fairness
In its implementation of the expedited removal provisions of the law, INS is taking steps far beyond what is required in the statute and ensuring that aliens affected by expedited removal are treated fairly and that their rights are protected in the following ways:
- INS -
Prepared by the Office of Public
Affairs (202) 514-2648
November 11, 2002