The administration announced on July 22, 2019 a dramatic expansion of a procedure called “Expedited Removal”. This policy has previously applied to immigrants encountered within 100 air miles of the border (which encompasses the entire state of Maine) who could not prove that they had been in the U.S. for more than 14 days.
Under the new policy, expedited removal now applies nationwide to anyone encountered by immigration authorities who cannot prove that they have been here for more than two years. The new policy took effect on the date of the notice’s publication on July 23, 2019.
Under expedited removal, immigration agents can summarily remove anyone they believe to lack legal status without due process and access to an immigration court hearing. Only if a person affirmatively cites a fear of returning to her home country are authorities supposed to pause the removal process and arrange for the person to be interviewed by an asylum officer.
This new policy will inevitably lead to native born U.S. citizens, who need not carry any proof of their immigration status and who are not in immigration databases, being erroneously swept up in the expedited removal process. It will also lead to increases in family separations, and to employers losing valuable employees and communities losing valued community members.
You can find a primer on expedited removal here.
Maine employers should advise their immigrant employees who have been in the U.S. for longer than two years to carry photocopies of multiple years of W-2s with them at all times, so that they can show their presence here for two years if they get stopped at a CBP checkpoint while driving in Maine, or have any other encounter with ICE.
The new policy’s legality is being challenged in the federal courts but is in effect as of this writing.