The New Immigration Landscape
As former President Barack Obama once said, "Elections have consequences." Never has that been more true than the 2016 election. When Donald Trump was inaugurated on January 20, 2017, the immigration landscape and how things are done by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) changed remarkably. Knowing the new "rules of the road" and obtaining the guidance of an experienced immigration deportation lawyer are vital steps to ensuring a favorable outcome for all undocumented immigrants and their families. Let's take a look at what we know about the changes, and how people can best protect themselves from deportation.
Executive Orders on Immigration
Almost immediately upon taking office, Donald Trump set in motion some wide-sweeping immigration changes by signing executive orders that call for constructing a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico and cracking down on "sanctuary cities" that limit what they will do to help federal immigration authorities.
Additionally, another executive order was enacted to deny entry to people coming to the United States from a set of states in the Middle East which the administration has deemed as unstable. That executive order and an amended order about the Middle East countries were both denied by judges, but that could change in the future.
Beefed Up Enforcement on Deportation
A further executive order aimed at foreign-born workers and other undocumented immigrants, called "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States" gives ICE broader enforcement powers. This order says that "aliens who have been convicted of any criminal offense; have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved; have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense; have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency; have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or in the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security."
As this order is written, an individual doesn't need to be convicted of a crime to be considered for deportation. In fact, simply being in the United States as an undocumented immigrant meets the part of the statute about "chargeable criminal offenses". Under the previous administration, priority on deportation orders was for those with criminal convictions.
Also, this order does not really address complex immigration cases and asylum seekers; rather it errs on the side of removal. Of course, most people have heard stories of immigration detentions for minor infractions or incidental arrests, meaning someone was arrested while ICE was serving an arrest warrant on someone else in the home. The most important things to do when confronted with a situation like this are to stay calm and hire a deportation lawyer.
Hiring an Attorney
There are defenses to most of these removal orders; however, some attorneys are not familiar enough with them to help. That's why people need to seek out an immigration lawyer in New York when involved in a situation on the east coast.
For instance, an I-601 waiver is a defense that shows that a qualifying relative (or relatives) who are U.S. citizens or permanent, legal residents would suffer extreme hardship if the applicant was deported. While "extreme hardship" is not spelled out in the law, decision-makers do have more discretion to approve or deny these types of waivers. This type of waiver can be used to keep families together when appropriately used.
Hiring an attorney can protect immigrant families and interests, and on the east coast, those who are concerned can find an experienced and passionate immigration lawyer in New York at Margaret W. Wong & Associates, LLC.