Immigration experts say President Trump's recent tweets about how ICE will start deporting "millions of illegal aliens" this week is shocking the immigration court system. Even before a two-week delay for lawmakers to work out a deal on immigration policy, experts say undocumented immigrants found in recent raids in Ohio will still get their day in court.
From the moment Eliseo Rodriguez De La Cruez heard federal agents during their raid of the Corso's Flower and Garden Center last summer, he knew his time at the facility was over and that years of uncertainty were just beginning.
"I was very sad and we didn't know what was going to happen to us," he told News 5 at the end of 2018.
So when President Trump sent out these tweets below, poeple like Eliseo and Robert Brown Immigration Law Partner Aleksander Cuic took notice.
Next week ICE will begin the process of removing the millions of illegal aliens who have illicitly found their way into the United States. They will be removed as fast as they come in. Mexico, using their strong immigration laws, is doing a very good job of stopping people.......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
....long before they get to our Southern Border. Guatemala is getting ready to sign a Safe-Third Agreement. The only ones who won’t do anything are the Democrats in Congress. They must vote to get rid of the loopholes, and fix asylum! If so, Border Crisis will end quickly!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2019
"I think it's a shock to the system and, I think, a cause for alarm," said Cuic.
He says the tweets are a political move, especially since the President's re-election kickoff event was scheduled for just one day after the tweet was sent.
Also, the deportation process is long and can't be circumvented by a tweet.
"There's an immigration court process, so you can't just arrest someone and deport them," said Cuic.
Even undocumented immigrants caught up in the raids in Sandusky and Salem, Ohio are entitled to a day in court to make the case for why they should be allowed to stay.
That process can take years to play out, so Cuic says anyone arrest just a year ago likely hasn't had their court date yet.
Before the raids started, President Trump tweeted this:
At the request of Democrats, I have delayed the Illegal Immigration Removal Process (Deportation) for two weeks to see if the Democrats and Republicans can get together and work out a solution to the Asylum and Loophole problems at the Southern Border. If not, Deportations start!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 22, 2019
It creates years of uncertainty but also time for undocumented immigrants to make their case.
Eliseo is due back in court in April of 2021 and until then, he's expecting to stay in Ohio.
Cuic says what's more likely is that the President is referring to undocumented immigrants who have already gotten an Order of Supervision, essentially the step before deportation.
"They've gone through the immigration court process, they've exhausted their court remedies at this point, and they were told by an immigration court judge that they have to be removed," said Cuic.
He says the best estimate is that there are about 400,000 to 1 million people in the United States right now who are at that stage.