Submit public comment against nationwide “papers, please”


Submit a comment to DHS to tell them, in your own words, why they should not expand ICE's “expedited removal” powers nationwide.

ICE already has a power of “expedited removal” within 100 miles of the US land borders. Within this region, ICE agents can command any person in public, or in any place they're let into, to show their “papers, please”—and if they don't prove to the agents' satisfaction that they're a citizen or lawfully present, ICE can deport them immediately, without so much as an immigration court hearing.

The Trump administration wants to expand this power nationwide.

Well-informed, original public comments have sometimes been used in court decisions as part of the justification for overturning harmful actions such as these. Submit yours today!

Comments are due September 23 before 9.00 p.m. PST.


ICE, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement, is DHS's interior (within the United States) enforcement arm for immigration policy. ICE's job is to raid workplaces, transit vehicles such as Greyhound buses, and private residences—with either the owner's consent or a court order—and arrest anyone who isn't a citizen or can't show evidence of lawful status. They can also issue “detainers”, which are documents commanding themselves and police departments, sheriff's departments and the like to hold you so ICE can take you into their custody. And, they operate some of the immigrant-detention facilities across the country (CBP, Customs and Border Protection, operates the rest).

In most of the US, if you're rounded up in an ICE raid or picked up on a detainer, you might get arrested, detained, presented to an “immigration court”, and eventually deported. But ICE also has a power called “expedited removal”, where, within 100 miles of the land borders with Mexico and Canada (restricted until now to that zone), they can simply demand that you prove, on the spot, two things:

  1. You're either a US citizen or lawfully present in the US (e.g., on a visa or have been granted asylum), and

  2. You've been continuously living in the country for more than two weeks.

If you can't prove, or fail to prove, both of those things to the agents' satisfaction, they can then “remove” (deport) you immediately.

All of that is the status quo ante. And it's already dangerous, and dangerous to everyone, since your papers only help you if you have them and the agents who participate in your deportation care that you have them. Even US citizens get picked up by ICE, whether on “detainer” orders or on random agents' suspicion, and a few—US citizens!—have even been deported to other countries. No one is safe from ICE, not even US citizens.

Now the Trump administration wants to expand “expedited removal”, including rolling it out nationwide:

  • Within 100 miles of the land borders, you'll have to show both citizenship or lawful presence, and continuous residency for two years. (On the spot! To the agents' satisfaction!)

  • In the entire rest of the country, newly subject to this practice, you'll have to show continuous residency for more than two years (just to get a hearing, if you're not a citizen or lawful resident).

This would subject everyone—and especially every person of color—in the country to a constant, credible fear of being asked for one's “papers, please”. And if the ICE agent doesn't accept your papers, or you don't have them, you get whisked away from your family, friends, support networks, home, job, everything—to a completely different country. Maybe one you fled; maybe one you've never been to or otherwise don't remember.

The status quo ante is bad enough—we should, at a minimum, be repealing “expedited removal” and requiring due process for everyone. We should definitely not expand “expedited removal” across the entire country, and give the administration one more tool to use against already-terrorized communities.