When Do Expedited Removals Occur and How to Protect Your Rights

Learn the ins and outs of when expedited removals occur. Tadeo & Silva Immigration breaks down the legal procedures, criteria, and how you can safeguard your rights.

Author: Massiel Silva Tadeo, Founder, Tadeo & Silva

Attorney Massiel Silva Tadeo is a partner and owner at The Tadeo & Silva Law Firm. She specializes in removal (deportation) defense, family immigration, and hardship waivers. Published on: November 30, 2023.

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Expedited Removal of Undocumented Immigrants

Typically, deportation in the U.S. is a lengthy process that involves an immigration hearing. However, with expedited removal proceedings, immigrants can get deported by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in a matter of a few hours or days.

Many immigrants without lawful status in the U.S. are at risk of expedited removal. As such, it is vital to have as much information as possible on expedited removals if you are an immigrant. For personalized advice and guidance, consult an immigration attorney at Tadeo & Silva Law.

What Is Expedited Removal?


Expedited removal is a sped-up deportation process provided for in §235.3 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). It allows the U.S. Customs and Border Protection to deny entry or physically remove certain undocumented immigrants who may be seeking admission into the United States.

If an immigration officer determines that you should be subject to expedited removal, the burden of proof falls on you to prove otherwise. As noted by the American Immigration Council in their Primer on Expedited Removal, this is a problem because the process is usually too fast to seek appropriate legal guidance from an attorney.

How It Differs From Regular Removal

A significant difference between expedited removal and regular removal is the speed of execution. Expedited removal typically takes a few weeks at most for you to be returned to your home country. Meanwhile, the regular deportation process could take up to several years to complete.

Also, in the regular removal proceedings, you have a right to defend your status before an immigration judge. You may also hire an attorney to represent you. These rights are non-existent in the expedited removal process.

Lastly, the removal order given at the end of regular deportation proceedings can be appealed to the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA). Meanwhile, an expedited removal order cannot be appealed.

When Do Expedited Removals Occur?

Expedited removals usually occur at the border to prevent undocumented immigrants from entering the United States. It is mainly used as a border enforcement tool. A typical scenario where expedited removal could be triggered is when an immigrant arrives at the U.S. border without proper documentation.

Under the Trump administration, the DHS expanded expedited removal to include undocumented individuals who entered the U.S. without inspection and have resided in the U.S. for less than two years. However, this has been rescinded under the Biden administration. Currently, only individuals who meet specific criteria will be subject to expedited removals.

Criteria for Expedited Removal

For an immigrant to be subject to expedited removal, they must be inadmissible on either of the following grounds:

  • Entering or trying to enter the U.S. without a valid entry document
  • Using or trying to use fraud or misrepresentation of material facts (e.g., false documents) to enter the U.S.

People who are inadmissible on either of the grounds above can be subject to expedited removal:

  • as soon as they arrive at a designated port of entry

  • for up to two years after their arrival if they arrive by sea but not a designated port of entry

  • if they are found less than 100 miles from the border and have been in the U.S. for 14 days or less.

A reputable law firm that focuses on deportation removal defense, like Tadeo & Silva Law, may be able to provide you with further assistance if you are at risk of expedited removal.

How to Protect Your Rights

If you are faced with an expedited removal order, your legal options are minimal. The easiest way to get off the hook is by proving that you have legal status somehow.

You can also ask for asylum if you are running away from your home for fear of harm. It typically takes a few weeks after a credible fear interview to determine whether your claim is valid. This gives you time to contact our attorneys, who are experienced with ICE Deportation processes and may be able to assist you further.

Client Preferences and How We Can Help


Below are some other immigration processes and how they tie into deportation or expedited removal.

  • Adjustment of Status and IR6 Greencard

Immigration authorities may consider an immigrant’s strong family ties in the U.S. when issuing an expedited removal order. If you are an undocumented immigrant who entered the U.S. lawfully and are eligible for adjustment of status or a family-based green card like the IR6, this may benefit you. You can contact Tadeo & Silva Law to help you challenge the removal process. We can also help you with applying for a green card.

Unfortunately, undocumented immigrants who entered the United States without inspection cannot adjust status. They must leave the U.S., apply for a visa, and then re-enter lawfully to be eligible.

  • Naturalization and Removal of Conditions

Generally, whether conditional or permanent, individuals with a green card are not subject to expedited removal proceedings. However, it is possible to still be deported as a green card holder. If you are eligible for naturalization, you can avoid the deportation process entirely by applying to become a citizen. If you have a conditional green card, removing its conditions can further solidify your legal status in the U.S., making it less likely for you to be deported.

Contact Tadeo & Silva Law Today

Every immigrant’s circumstances are different, and as such, it is best to get personalized guidance on the subject of expedited removal. If you are at risk of expedited removal or are unsure whether you are, we can help you.

Our team of knowledgeable immigration lawyers is ready to provide you with compassionate support and aggressive legal representation. Contact us today for a consultation; let us help you with your immigration issues.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What Is the Credible Fear Process?

Credible fear is the process used to determine whether an undocumented immigrant should be allowed to seek asylum or removed expeditiously. A credible fear interview is conducted between the immigrant and an asylum officer. If successful, the immigrant can apply for asylum in an immigration court. It is advisable to go through this process with competent legal representation.

Is There Any Situation in Which Expedited Removal Is Required?

Expedited removal is never mandatory. It is done at the discretion of the immigration officers involved. They may decide not to commence expedited removal proceedings against certain people based on their circumstances. They may allow some individuals to ‘voluntarily return’ rather than be removed.

Can an Attorney Stop Expedited Removal?

In a few case-specific scenarios, an immigration attorney may be able to intervene in your expedited removal proceedings. Contact our attorneys with more information about your case to determine if this is possible.

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