Judge rules against Title 42 policy that allowed DHS to expel migrants at any time, regardless of whether they have a criminal record.
The US’s Department of Homeland Security on Monday announced plans to phase out its practice of deporting immigrants within seven days of a criminal conviction in immigration court.
“The Department of Homeland Security has taken this action to promote public safety and protect the integrity of immigration proceedings,” acting Secretary Elaine Duke said in a statement. She also said that deportations would “end immediately”, “once we are confident they have no connection to an individual.”
However, a federal judge in Washington state, in a ruling issued on Tuesday, struck down the policy and a DHS official acknowledged on Friday that it had violated the civil rights of tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants.
Judges in Oregon, Utah, and Washington state have also ordered the agency to start over.
The government’s most recent deportation numbers put the number of people deported to the US in fiscal year 2018 at 830,892, excluding the 17,300 whose cases are still pending. The number of people deported in FY18 is significantly down from the record high of 1.3 million in FY17, which ended March 31, 2017.
According to court documents released by the State Department, DHS has deported about 9,099 people since June 1, 2017. The agency said those deportation numbers would “probably exceed the number of individuals removed under the prior program, for several reasons, one being that many of those individuals did not have a criminal record and therefore did not have to be removed.”
The agency said it would take longer for its deportation numbers to come back, but that it would “revisit” the decision after they come back.
Duke, in her statement, described the phase-in policy as “a temporary fix to keep our communities safer and our immigration courts processing more cases.”
The policy was first announced by DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as early as September 2017, during an interview with the Associated Press.
“The program is not intended to replace or replace criminal immigration courts,” she