30 Nov 2016 What to expect from President Trump on his immigration plan
After Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, many people became fearful, anxious, and nervous about their future in America. After all, he started his campaign by stating he wanted to deport ALL of the approximate 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. He recently modified that position, by stating he wants to first start with immediately deporting the approximate 3 million undocumented immigrants who are felons, terrorists, and “bad people.” As for the remainder of the undocumented immigrants, he still has to decide what to do.
He has also brought in as advisers some very hard-liners on immigration reform. Some of these people helped draft some of the harshest immigration laws across the country. Those same immigration hard-liners will be advising him on proposed new immigration laws.
Some people are worried that there may now suddenly be a “knock on the door”, by Homeland Security officers, with guns and badges, “arresting” them at their home or work, and taking them directly to the airport, because of some minor crime they committed years ago, or they may have been ordered deported in the past.
While it remains to be seen how Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress will deal with immigration reform, here are some of my thoughts (which are merely my opinions, and not established fact, and may not come to pass.):
- Build a wall: I think Trump will attempt to build some kind of fence or wall along the Mexican border, both to keep his campaign promise, and to stop the flow of people across the border, just in case he may later decide to have comprehensive immigration reform. Last year, tens of thousands of people poured across the border from Central America, and Obama was trying to deport them as quickly as possible. If there will ever be some form of immigration reform, I think the lawmakers don’t want hundreds of thousands of people pouring in to the US in anticipation of such immigration reform. So they want a wall first.
- Deporting the felons: I believe he will move forward on his pledge to deport the “bad guys” as quickly as possible. These would include convicted felons, terrorists, etc. I hope it would not include people with old “in absentia” removal orders. I would also hope he would leave in place prosecutorial discretion, allowing ICE to focus on these bad people, but leaving the “low priority” undocumented alone for now.
- Convert DACA into the Dream Act: Pres. Obama brought about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) by “executive action,” after Congress did not pass the Dream Act. But if you think about it, DACA and the Dream Act are similar, in the sense that both address the issue of allowing young people who were brought to the US at an early age to remain in America. Trump’s opposition to DACA was that it was brought about through executive action, rather than congressional legislation. He seems to have no problem if these measures are brought about by way of laws passed by Congress. Therefore, if the Republican-controlled Congress will pass the Dream Act, it would not be “executive action”, and may even be politically expedient for the Republicans to gain favor with the Latino community, as they would definitely benefit by the enactment of the Dream Act in lieu of DACA.
- Eliminating the 3/10 year bar and bringing back Section 245(i): One of the main impediments to people being able to legalize their status is that they are not eligible to do so in the US, and if they depart the US to process their immigrant visa at the embassy in their home country, they could be banned for 10 years. If he eliminates the 10 year bar, it would be easier for people to consular process. Moreover, if he brings back Section 245(i), and has people pay a fine or penalty of perhaps $5000 so they don’t have to travel back to their home country, he could make billions for Homeland Security.
Let’s not forget that Trump was the author of the best-selling book, “The Art of the Deal”, which involves give and take, negotiations and compromises in order to make deals. This shows that while he may take a particular position at the outset, he may be willing to change his position. And that attitude may be far better than other people, who once they take a position, refuse to change it. As a businessman, he may be willing to negotiate and change his positions when it comes to immigration reform.
And finally, now, more than ever, it may be a good idea to make sure you have an attorney representing or readily available to you, with these massive anticipated changes to the immigration landscape. An attorney can help navigate you through these dangerous waters.
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