President Donald Trump ramped up his attacks on the United States’ immigration system on Sunday, calling for those immigrants who illegally enter the country to be deported without judicial proceedings.
“We cannot allow these people to invade our County,” Trump tweeted. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came.”
In another tweet, Trump said, “Our immigration policy, laughed at all over the world, is very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on line for years!”
Under U.S. and international law, undocumented immigrants entering the country seeking asylum have a right to apply for that status and have their requests considered on the merits.
Undocumented immigrants who have been in the country a certain amount of time also have various legal protections.
White House representatives did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s requests for clarification on Trump’s tweets and who precisely he meant in referring to “these people.”
The George W. Bush administration first enacted an expedited removal policy in 2004, which allows for undocumented immigrants to be deported without a trial if they’ve been in the country illegally for under two weeks and were apprehended within 100 miles of the border.
Since May 2017, the Trump administration has reportedly been considering expanding the policy to allow for the immediate deportation of undocumented immigrants anywhere in the country who cannot prove they have lived in the U.S. continuously for more than 90 days.
Immigrant rights activists have condemned the proposal, warning that it could violate due process requirements.
“We believe ‘expedited removal’ fails to afford a meaningful opportunity to defend oneself, and that, whatever its validity when employed at the border, it would be unconstitutional as applied to those living among us who are entitled to full due process protection,” David D. Cole, national legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union, told the Los Angeles Times in March 2017.
Trump’s tweets come as his administration has been under siege for its recent decision to move forward with a “zero tolerance” enforcement of immigration laws at the U.S.-Mexico border that resulted in an estimated 2,300 children being separated from their parents in detention centers. Intense criticism of the policy caused Trump to sign an executive order last week to end the separation of families.
The Trump administration needs “a strong dose of empathy and compassion ASAP,” Jeremy McKinney, treasurer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said in response to Trump’s tweets Sunday.
“The President’s tweets today further exposes this administration’s lack of interest in democratic norms, such as the guarantee of due process of law,” McKinney told HuffPost in an email.
“This guarantee extends to all of us whether documented or undocumented,” he continued. “The specific right to a fair hearing before being deported has existed for well over a century. It is Constitutional Law 101.”
Earlier Sunday, Trump continued to sow confusion on how he would like Congress to respond to the debate over immigration laws. In a tweet, he called on Democratic lawmakers to help pass immigration reform, despite on Friday telling Republicans to “stop wasting their time” on the issue until after midterm elections in November.
This story has been updated with comment from Jeremy McKinney, treasurer of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.