US immigration: What is expedited removal?

Anyone in British Columbia might have reason to feel apprehensive about going south of the border. Trips to Seattle, which were previously routine, have become nerve-wracking episodes. Although media reports indicate that U.S. immigration is targeting people with ties to Middle Eastern countries, extreme measures have been taken against others without such connections.

Expedited removal is a legal provision that allows U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers to deny certain aliens entry into the United States, or physically remove them. When CBP officers suspect that a person's claims are fraudulent or entry documents are invalid, they have the authority to issue an ER, without going through the normal removal proceedings that involve hearings before an immigration judge.

Business groups on both Vancouver and Seattle sides of the border report the adverse economic impact the unpredictability of border crossings has had. Some transportation companies have been hard hit. Their businesses included transportation of goods from Canada, across the U.S border, to be delivered at the United States' border with Mexico, from where the products would be distributed in Mexico. Although these trips were longstanding permitted drives, 18 of the truck operators had been issued expedited removal orders instead of the previous practice of issuing the drivers and their employers with fines.

It has come to a situation in which any British Columbia residents who want to take trips south of the border may be well-advised to consult with legal counsel. A lawyer with experience in dealing with border crossing issues will be aware of any changes to U.S. immigration laws. Legal counsel can make sure that the client's documents are in order and prepare the client for any questioning to which he or she might be subjected.

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