By Vatican News
This week the US Government significantly expanded the use of what it calls the “expedited removal” process for immigrants suspected of being undocumented.
The process also applies to migrants who cannot prove to an immigration officer that they have resided in the United States continuously for two years or longer.
What the Bishop says
In a statement issued on Thursday, Bishop Joe Vàsquez of Austin, Texas, and Chair of the USCCB Committee on Migration, calls for reversing the expansion of the expedited removal process, citing family separation and lack of due process among the Bishops’ concerns.
Expanding the fast-track removal process, writes Bishop Vàsquez, “will have terrible human consequences”.
The new policy, he says, “will allow for the deportation of many more individuals without providing them an opportunity to seek legal counsel and have a hearing before an immigration judge”.
What the policy involves
Even those migrants who have long-standing ties to the US and have been in the country for more than the requisite two years, may now be subjected to expedited removal if they are unable to prove such to an individual immigration official.
The implementation of this new policy, writes the Texas Bishop, “will have unjust and unacceptable results and lead to more widespread family separation”.
From October last year until last month, the southern US Border Patrol has apprehended more than 688,000 people, over half of them families and unaccompanied children.
The vast majority of those attempting to enter the United States via the Mexican border come from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador: all countries suffering from widespread violence and poverty.