Back of man in blue jacket with white letters reading ICE putting another man with his back to us in handcuffs

On July 22, 2019, the Trump administration passed an executive order that expands the implementation of the expedited removal process, which can fast-track deportation procedures for persons detained by I.C.E. (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents, often without many of the legal protections typically afforded to those being deported from the U.S. According to the notice published by the Department of Homeland Security, individuals can now be deported, without a hearing in front of a judge, if they have “not affirmatively shown, to the satisfaction of an immigration officer, that they have been physically present in the United States continuously for the two-year period immediately preceding the date of the determination of inadmissibility.”

While the executive order is new, expedited removal is not – the process was originally created in 1996. Before the new executive order, however, the process of expedited removal was only applicable to persons detained within two weeks of their arrival in the United States and could only be applied within 100 miles of the border. With the new executive order in effect, the rule can now apply to anyone in the United States unable to prove citizenship or a continuous presence in the United States for the preceding two years. And because expedited removal is up to the jurisdiction of the officer who is detaining someone, the lack of due process afforded to many stopped by I.C.E. agents could mean that those unable to provide substantial proof of time spent in the United States could be at risk of deportation whether they are here legally or not.

Such news comes after prominent media attention given to I.C.E.’s questionable practices inside and outside of I.C.E. border detention centers, which many have labeled concentration camps. In recent months, reports of the conditions at I.C.E. border detention facilities have been sobering: cases of detention centers operating at well above capacity, a lack of proper hygiene afforded to I.C.E. detainees, and outbreaks of serious illnesses at detention facilities have all been reported. A particularly objectionable instance of I.C.E.’s cruelty in recent public memory, in fact, was New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s report that I.C.E. detainees she met with faced rampant harassment and intimidation in custody, and were told by I.C.E. agents to drink water out of the toilet.

Ultimately, such a situation has led to abhorrent conditions: dozens of people have died in I.C.E. custody, and thousands of cases of sexual abuse perpetrated by I.C.E. agents have been reported.

While reports describing border facility conditions continue to be bleak, I.C.E.’s disingenuousness has become more prominent to the public eye with recent I.C.E. raids targeting major American cities in July. As communities across the country have learned to avoid I.C.E.’s advances when possible (often by refusing to open the door to I.C.E. agents, who are not entitled to enter one’s home or vehicle unless they have a warrant signed by a judge), I.C.E. agents have increasingly resorted to deceptive tactics to detain immigrants. In recent times, I.C.E. agents have been known to either dress up as police officers, or dress down in street clothes, to make their intentions less obvious to persons in their immediate presence. In other cases, I.C.E. agents have been known to deliberately lie to individuals they are attempting to detain.

With the rampant abuses of I.C.E. agents in mind, how could I.C.E. agents be entrusted to ever having the sole responsibility of deciding whether someone will be able to remain in the United States?

It is clear that action must be taken. What can members of the community do?

Get informed:All should equip themselves with knowledge in anticipation of increased attacks on the immigrant community:

Get organized:Who in your community is fighting for immigrant rights? Can you volunteer or organize with them? What type of assistance could be of help to them? Ohio-based organizations doing immigrant rights work include, but are certainly not limited to:

Ultimately, the new executive order sets a dangerous precedent for the future of immigrants living in the United States. If decisive mobilization is not taken against the new executive order, I.C.E.’s abuses, and the outright racism perpetuated by the Trump administration, mean that the livelihoods of millions of people who call the United States of America home are in grave danger.