By Raul Ray, Esq.
With the inauguration of President-Elect Trump around the corner, there is tremendous anxiety in immigrant communities across the country on the future of immigration in the USA.
During his campaign, Trump repeatedly promised to ramp up enforcement of our immigration laws, go on a border wall building spree and make Mexico pay for it and for good measure deport everyone who can’t prove they legally belong here.
Yes, once Trump is in office, the nation can expect to see stricter enforcement policies in all areas of immigration and not just border issues. We could see possible changes at some point on how the U.S. State Department process visa applications for those who seek to enter the USA legally, how the Department of Homeland Security processes benefit applications including green cards and naturalization and how the government ends up dealing with undocumented immigrants living in the country for a long time with no criminal history, and who are put into removal proceedings only because they entered the USA illegally. For now, it’s all speculation.
While nobody knows exactly what Trump plans do with immigration in 2017, and beyond, undocumented immigrants are encourage to explore any opportunities still available to them, including applying for immigration benefits if they are eligible to do so and seeking legal advice and assistance with deportation.
Gen. John Kelly, Trump’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security, did say during his Senate confirmation hearing on Tuesday, that law-abiding undocumented immigrants would “probably not be at the top of the list” for deportation.
And just last month, Trump told Time magazine that “We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud.” “They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.”
So there is some hope that DACA will not be shut down by Trump and therefore undocumented aliens with DACA status should continue to apply to renew their DACA status and not forego this opportunity out of anxiety and fear.
Despite Trump’s rhetoric about deporting everyone who is undocumented, that would be wishing thinking and simply impractical. Our already overbooked and over extended immigration court system would even be further extended, if the government foolishly tried to immediately deport millions of people.
Still those with criminal convictions need to take Trump’s threat of deportation very serious and definitely should be exploring, if they haven’t already done so, possible post-conviction relief with both criminal attorneys and immigration attorneys who are experienced and knowledgeable with these cases. Until Trump clarifies his policies and priorities as far deporting those with a criminal history, it wouldn’t be crazy to believe that even someone convicted of petty theft could be looking at being deported back to their home country.
Nevertheless, it’s important for undocumented immigrants to know that they have due process rights, and can fight their deportation in immigration court. They can apply for immigration relief that, depending on their eligibility and the circumstances of their case, could possibly lead to not only beating their deportation but also obtaining lawful permanent resident status as well.
Finally, undocumented immigrants detained by ICE should not agree to be removed from the USA or sign any ICE paperwork giving up their right to challenge their deportation in immigration court. If you or a family member are detained by ICE, immediately seek legal assistance from an experience and reputable immigration attorney or non-profit agency providing immigration services.
We will continue to keep you apprised on the very latest immigration news around the country
For more information please feel free to contact Raul Ray, Attorney at Law, at Law Offices of Raul Ray, (408)279-5793, 1671 The Alameda, Suite 200, San Jose, CA 95126. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.