Expedited removal is a process used by immigration authorities in the United States to quickly deport certain individuals without a hearing before an immigration judge. It is typically applied to individuals who arrive at a port of entry (POE) who attempt to enter without proper documentation or are deemed inadmissible for various reasons. Specifically, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers have the authority to utilize expedited removal in instances where the individual is inadmissible due to fraud or misrepresentation, makes a false claim to citizenship, the individual is not in possession of a valid unexpired immigrant or nonimmigrant visa, or the nonimmigrant is not in possession of a passport valid for a minimum of six months. While the reasons for expedited removal are limited, it is not uncommon for CBP to reach conclusions that would allow them to invalidate the visa and then put someone in expedited removal for not being in possession of a valid nonimmigrant visa.
It is important to be well prepared prior to entering the US, as getting put into expedited removal results in a 5 year bar from the country. It is important to note, that if you are put into secondary screening, there is an option to withdraw your application for admission, but it is not always granted. If you are put into expedited removal, there are avenues to go through to possibly address the five year bar. It is important to note than expedited removal cannot be challenged in federal court through litigation.
Review Your Expedited Removal with an Attorney
When you are put into expedited removal, you will be provided a number of documents from the CBP officer. These will include the I-867A & B Sworn Statement, the I-860 Removal Order, and the I-296 Consequences of Removal Order. It is important to any individual that they retain these documents and review them completely.
These documents will include the transcript of the secondary inspection and this will be vital to any future immigration endeavors. It is important to have an attorney that is experienced in these types of cases to review the transcript to see what the issues were in your case. Additionally, the attorney should review the removal order to discuss any immigration consequences of the removal. Expedited removal, by itself, comes with a 5 year bar, but the consequences for a false claim to citizenship or for misrepresentation can be permanent bars.
Having an attorney review your expedited removal documents is critical in order to determine which steps are necessary to come up with an effective strategy on how to handle the expedited removal.
Contest your Expedited Removal through DHS Trip
If you and your attorney believe that your expedited removal was procedurally, legally, or even factually incorrect, there is a way to contest it through the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS created its Traveler Redress Inquiry Program (DHS TRIP) for individuals that have difficulty at ports of entry. The DHS TRIP system can be used for
- Watch list issues
- Screening problems at ports of entry
- Situations where travelers believe they have been unfairly or incorrectly delayed or denied entry into the United States
For purposes of expedited removal, the DHS TRIP system will utilize that third criteria. DHS TRIP is an online system where an individual or their attorney can submit documentation for DHS to review if the removal was proper. The attorney response should detailed enough to explain the situation and the legal or factual issues with the expedited removal, but not so detailed that it becomes a 20 page document. In a recent DHS TRIP filing by our firm, the structure looked as follows:
- A brief summary of the reason for reconsideration
- The background that led up to the employee entering the US
- A summary of the expedited removal process
- A detailed reason for the reconsideration addressing the errors in the expedited removal
The filing should cite to specific reasons as to why the analysis by the CBP officer should be reconsidered and to specific reasons under the law. T It is helpful if it is a black and white analysis as to the improper removal, as that would help with a finding of gross error; however, you can try to make more detailed arguments as well.
The goal of utilizing DHS TRIP would be the have a change in the expedited removal order and remove the five year bar. Unfortunately, there is not a timeline for DHS TRIP reviews and it can take months or longer. In the meantime, an individual should start preparing on how to get past the five year bar in case the expedited removal order sticks.
Handling the 5 Year Expedited Removal Bar
In instances where DHS TRIP is not successful, individuals need to consider what the next steps they would need to take are. Of course, one of your options is to wait out the 5-year bar, but for those that do not want to, their options will depend on the reason for expedited removal. For example, if you were removed due to fraud or misrepresentation, you would need to consider a nonimmigrant waiver at the consulate to get passed the fraud or misrepresentation issue, as that carries a lifetime bar.
If you were removed because CBP cancelled your visa and made a finding you do not have a valid nonimmigrant visa, one option is to file an I-212 with USCIS. If your expedited removal was for grounds under INA § 212(a)(9)(A) or (C) , you can utilize an I-212 which is an Application for Permission to Reapply for Admission. When you complete the I-212, it is important to submit evidence that would lead to a favorable finding to allow you to be readmitted to the United States prior to the 5 year period ending.
Please note, the I-212 can only be used for the expedited removal portion of an inadmissibility. It cannot be used to cure other forms of inadmissibility. It is important to have someone go through your expedited removal paperwork in detail to ensure the proper process is being used.
Facing expedited removal can be an intimidating and stressful situation. However, working with an experienced immigration attorney provides the best chance to contest your removal order and mitigate any long-term immigration consequences. If you or a family member is facing expedited removal, it is critical that you retain copies of all documentation provided by CBP officers. Thoroughly review these documents with a qualified attorney who specializes in expedited removal defense. An attorney can assess if there were any procedural, legal or factual errors in your case that could form the basis for an appeal.
Additionally, an attorney can advise on the best path forward based on the specifics of your situation. For example, they can guide you on whether to file a reconsideration request through DHS TRIP or submit an I-212 application to reapply for admission prior to the 5-year bar expiring. They can also help address any additional grounds of inadmissibility beyond the expedited removal order itself.
Without proper legal guidance, a hastily-made misstep could lead to being barred from the U.S. for an extended period of time. This can derail careers, separate families, and cause significant financial and emotional hardship. The assistance of an experienced immigration law firm provides the greatest chance to remove an expedited removal order, resume your life in the U.S., and realize your professional goals.
Reddy & Neumann, P.C., located in Houston, Texas, has been serving the business community for over 25 years and is Houston’s largest immigration law firm focused solely on U.S. Employment-based immigration. We work with employers, employees and investors helping them navigate the immigration process quickly and cost-effectively.
By: Steven Brown
Steven Brown is a Partner at Reddy & Neumann, P.C. where he works in the Non-immigrant visa department and leads the Litigation Team. His practice covers all phases of the non-immigration visa process including filing H-1B, L-1, E-3, H-4, and H-4 EAD petitions. In the last two years, Steven has successfully handled over 1,000 non-immigrant visa petitions including filing petitions, responding to any necessary Requests for Evidence, and drafting motions and appeals. He has also become a key resource for F-1 students that seek guidance on properly complying with the F-1 visa regulations and any OPT or CPT issues they may have. Additionally, Steven holds a weekly conference call for companies that are part of one of the largest organizations for IT Services companies in America.