Expedited Removal and Statutory Time Limits on Judicial Review of Agency Rules

Oluwadamilola E. Obaro

The controversial scheme of “expedited removal,” which gives low-level immigration officials the authority to deport people with little to no judicial review, came roaring back into the public consciousness in the wake of President Trump’s executive order temporarily suspending entry into the United States of individuals from certain Muslim-majority countries. Hugely controversial since its inception, challenges to the expedited removal statutory scheme are blocked by a sixty-day time limit to challenges to any regulations or procedures implementing the expedited removal provisions. Rather than address the constitutionality of the expedited removal system itself, this Note focuses on that sixty-day time limit. Congress frequently uses statutorily imposed time limits to curb judicial review of agency rules. But the validity of a statutory time limit on judicial review of agency rules cannot be evaluated independently of the scope of the judicial review that it restricts. When, as is the case with expedited removal, a statutory time limit forecloses the constitutional challenges of people whose claims could not have been raised during the prescribed time limit, that time limit poses serious constitutional concerns. In light of these concerns, this Note argues that courts should not read the expedited removal time-limit to bar constitutional challenges to the expedited removal system that could not have been raised within the prescribed time limit. Unfortunately, despite the disturbing constitutional implications of the expedited removal time limit, there are considerable doctrinal and jurisdictional challenges to convincing a court to exercise jurisdiction over such a challenge. The Note concludes by discussing some of these potential barriers and ways in which the planned future expansion of expedited removal might help to overcome some of these roadblocks.

This article appears in the December 2017 Issue: Volume 92, Number 6