The order could see the deportation of up to 80,000 undocumented immigrants.
The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency is on track to send court documents to undocumented aliens who have yet to be processed for deportation after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border in the past year.
According to CNBC News, the documents include “notices to appear,” which direct migrants to attend court hearings, wherein immigration judges will decide whether they can remain in the United States or should instead be deported.
CNBC News notes that this change will apply to all migrants—including families with children—who were released into the United States after being apprehended at the border by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
“U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is mailing charging documents to place noncitizens in removal proceedings who have been paroled or released under prosecutorial discretion by Customs and Border Protection (CBP),” the agency said in a statement. “Noncitizens are being directed to their closest ICE Field Office and will be processed using the information collected by CBP as evidence of citizenship and removability.”
While I.C.E. said that the program intends to expedite deportation proceedings, the agency did not say when it expects notices to be sent.
“By mailing out these charging documents, ICE is initiating removal proceedings in a timely way,” the agency told CNBC in a statement.
CBS News reports that migrants who are detained immediately after crossing the border are typically provided “notices to appear.”
However, after March, the U.S. government failed to provide such notices to tens of thousands of immigrants caught trying to illegally cross the border. Instead, they were given “notices to report,” which instruct recipients to present themselves in a local I.C.E. office within 60 days for further processing.
I.C.E., adds CBS News, said that the pandemic strained its resources, and that it was not able to maintain ordinary operations until recently.
One government document, apparently inspected by CBS, says that, while notices to appear can take up to 1.5 hours to prepare, a notice to report can be generate within 10 minutes.
However, the impending program has already been criticized by immigration advocates, who worry that migrants who do not receive the notices could be deported.
“We know that when people are entering, they give CBP an address and it’s typically an address of where they know somebody in the United States. But that doesn’t mean that it is where they will reside,” Amy Fischer, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA, told CBS News. “We also know that CBP has a long history of writing down inaccurate information.”
“People can be removed and deported to the very fear that they fled simply by not showing up to the court date,” Fischer added.