Maybe Trump should bring back section 245(i)?

Maybe Trump should bring back section 245(i)?

I have previously written articles about the logistics and legality of Donald Trump’s plan to deport the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. I would now like to offer him a humane, money – generating alternative: bring back Section 245(i)!

Section 245(i) was a law that expired on April 30, 2001. It allowed certain people to adjust status (obtain a green card in the US) even if they were out of status, worked without authorization, overstayed their visa, entered the U.S. without inspection, etc., provided the person had a visa available (through employment or family petition) and:

  • Is fingerprinted, has a background check performed, is otherwise law – abiding and is “admissible”
  • Paid a fine/penalty to the US government of $1000.

Under current law, many of these people are now unable to adjust status or obtain their green card in the US. Instead, they are required to depart the US and apply for their immigrant visa abroad. In many cases, they would be also be required to apply for and be granted a provisional waiver or an expanded provisional, if eligible.

If Section 245(i) is brought back, and let’s say the fine/penalty is raised even to $5000, that could generate tens of billions of dollars for the US government, which these prospective immigrants would gladly pay vs having to depart the US.

There have been studies where it is estimated it would cost upwards of $400 billion to deport the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants. Why spend all of those billions of dollars when the US government could, instead, generate billions of dollars?

Trump’s plan that “everyone has to leave, and the good ones can come back” merely enriches the airlines, travel agents, hotels, etc., who would gain by having all of these people travel outside the US. In addition, having these otherwise law – abiding people leave the US could cause tremendous amounts of anxiety and pain, especially for their US born children if they must depart the US. Or what if they have a special needs US citizen child or a wheel – chair bound US citizen spouse (or parent) who they are caring for? What if they are currently working as a caregiver and have to depart the US? Who takes care of their elderly patients or parents?

Section 245(i) effectively accomplishes Trump’s goals: applicants are thoroughly vetted, with fingerprints and background checks, to ensure they are among “the good ones”. Why, with such a background check, would they still be required to leave the US? The fine/penalty of $5000 should be punishment enough for them having overstayed. Why add to the misery by still making them depart the US, when Section 245(i) could generate billions of dollars for the US government? It would also enable these people to remain with their families and avoid the tremendous amount of anxiety, disruption, and separation that they and their family will suffer.

Trump says he is a smart business man, and can offer sensible solutions to our nation’s problems. While I don’t have all the answers to the complex issue of immigration reform, an updated or revived Section 245(i) offers a humane alternative to Trump’s mass deportation plan, while at the same time addressing his concerns about either being tough on immigration and/or screening people. Mr. Trump: it would be a smart move.

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