Over the past several months, we have seen a significant shift in immigration policies and laws.
Some may applaud the efforts by the Trump Administration to crackdown on illegal immigration, safeguard our borders and protect our national and public safety. These are the Administration’s rationales for advancing tough immigration policies. I do not disagree with these goals; in fact, I wholeheartedly support efforts to secure our borders and keep us safer. However, the approach taken by President Trump is obviously less about public safety and more about discrimination against immigrants. The Administration has targeted Muslims, Mexicans and Syrians and continue to advance a platform to “Make America Great Again” at the exclusion of immigrants.
Social Media Monitoring
Our government recently announced its plans to monitor the social media of immigrants, beginning on October 18, 2017.
This is a privacy issue and one that we should take very seriously. Reportedly, naturalized U.S. Citizens also fall into this broad category of “immigrants” who are subject to this new policy. If this is true, it is unclear how the Administration will ensure that it does not inadvertently monitor the social media of U.S.-born citizens. Why is the Administration going so far as to monitor the social media behavior of immigrants given our already strict visa approval process? As I say in my video, “this is kind of crazy.”
More Detentions & Deportations
President Trump signed executive orders calling for aggressive interior enforcement or crackdown on immigrants with a criminal history or unlawful presence.
The Administration invested more dollars to hire immigration agents to arrest and deport more people. They have also invested in more detention centers. Sanctuary cities are threatened by the loss of critical federal law enforcement funding if they fail to cooperate with the Administration’s enforcement policies.
Travel Bans & Increased Scrutiny of Visa Applications
Major policies target the flow of immigrants into and out of our country.
At the start of his Administration, President Trump introduced hardline executive orders banning the flow of refugees and foreigners from several countries. More countries now face a possible travel ban if they fail to meet our higher standards for biographical and biometrics data on people traveling to the U.S. Visa applications are also being scrutinized more closely than before, and applicants are asked to provide significant information about their background.
Termination of Immigrant Programs
Policies were implemented to shift the status of immigrants from lawful to unlawful.
Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for certain countries has been terminated or face termination (e.g., Haiti, Sudan). Without TPS, many of these recipients will have an unlawful status and no longer be permitted to work. Likewise, nearly 800,000 recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) may be at risk for deportation now that the program has ended.
What Should Immigrants Do?
Despite these significant changes to our immigration system, immigrants should not fear or be discouraged.
As an Immigration Lawyer, my mission is to “protect my clients’ future stay in the United States and help businesses attract and keep the best talent.” This mission is grounded in lawful immigration practices only. Our statutory laws make it possible for foreigners to immigrate lawfully to the U.S., but the heightened anti-immigrant rhetoric from the Trump Administration masks these pathways. This is why I am investing valuable time creating, and promoting, my Pathways to a Green Card videos.
I applaud the advocacy work by numerous organizations across the country to resist policies that are counter to our nations’ ideals of welcoming immigrants and creating a free environment for immigrants to thrive. These ideals can still be accomplished without compromising our national and public safety. Immigrants should continue to be empowered by understanding the law and taking the necessary steps to protect their future travels to, and stay in, the United States.
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The Law Office of LaToya N. McBean is a solo immigration law office in Brooklyn, New York. We help families and businesses with Green Card, visas, naturalization/citizenship, removal, waivers and appeals. We are equipped to serve clients in all 50 states and outside of the United States.
The information provided in this blog is solely for general information purposes only. It should not be construed as a communication of legal advice or opinion. Further, the information is not intended to create an attorney-client relationship. Attorney advertisement.