Many were so shocked by Trump’s election that they had not given thought to the specific changes he could, and likely will make once he becomes President on January 20, 2017. Here is a list of six things that President Trump is likely to changes in current immigration policy:
1. DACA. Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, was effective as of June 15, 2012, and has provided a work permit and relief from the fear of deportation to more than 750,0000 undocumented young woman and men from the ages of 15 to 31, who came here as children and graduated from our high schools and colleges. Virtually all of them work, pay taxes, own cars, and contribute to our society. It is virtually certain that President Trump will terminate this program on January 20, 2017, as he has promised to do. What is uncertain is whether he will allow those with work permits that would remain facially valid to keep working until the end of their allotted time. We believe he will, as it would be the easiest to implement policy, rather than having to individually change each expiration date in the relevant government databases. All DACA recipients should be talking to an experienced immigration lawyer today to see if they will have any other legal options to obtain some sort of status in the United States. We recommend that, at least until December 1, that all DACA beneficiaries who have work cards expiring before May 1, 2017 file to extend their cards now, with the hope the cards will be extended, and you will be able to continue working on them until expiration. If you have not done so, you should also consider getting an emergency travel document for a very sick relative, if there is one in your family, so you can have a legal entry on your record, should you, in the future, marry a US Citizen.
2. DAPA. The Deferred Action for Parental Accountability program that Obama announced on November 20, 2014, which never went into effect as a result of a court order. This program was created by a policy memo and can be eliminated by a policy memo. The effect will be minimal since the policy was never carried out, but it did create a great deal of excitement for the 3-4 million people who’s lives it would have helped. This policy memo will certainly be withdrawn on January 20, 2017, as Trump has promised.
3. Parole in Place (“PIP”). PIP was created by USCIS policy memo under the Bush Administration and allows the spouse and parents of active and retired military personnel to file a petition with the USCIS to allow for them to “enter” or be paroled into the United States, thereby allowing the person to obtain permanent residence through their spouse or child without having to depart the United States and be subject to the 10 year bar for unlawful presence. Essentially, this is a benefit only to those who serve or who have served our country. The word in DC is that this program is going to be eliminated by the Trump administration, but we do not know when, Our advice is to file any such applications now to try to get an approval before this program is eliminated.
4. TPS. Temporary Protected Status is authorized by the President to national from certain countries where war, natural disaster, or other such calamity prohibits removal to that country. Currently more than 350,000 people are on TPS. Many have had TPS for more that 15 years. Nine countries currently are under TPS, including El Salvador, Honduras, Syria, Nepal, Somalia, and Nicaragua. There is a strong possibility, especially for countries where the disasters that caused TPS to be issued occurred many years ago, or where the necessary infrastructure repairs have occurred, that TPS will no longer be extended. Honduras and El Salvador may not have their TPS renewed after the current expirations in 2018. People on TPS from those countries (and the other countries as well) should be speaking now to an experienced immigration lawyer to see if they have other immigration options.
5. Prosecutorial Discretion or PD and the “10 year law.” PD is based upon a policy memo issued by the Obama administration in 2011 and then revised in 2014. It sets the standards by which ICE has operated in the apprehension, detention, release and prosecution of immigration cases. This policy memo has made some lawyers very complacent in their handling of immigration court cases, preferring to take administrative closure (PD) rather than fighting winnable cases. We believe that the PD memo will be withdrawn by the end of January 2017, and in its place ICE will return to pursing removal and deportation cases against everyone they encounter, and that ICE attorneys will pursue removal cases to the fullest extent permitted by the law. This means that people that intentionally put themselves in removal proceedings to seek a work permit by filing baseless asylum cases can expect to have their cases fully litigated, facing a 2% approval rate for such cases. It is sad that so many were led into the trap of easy work permits without realizing the ultimate consequences of such an action.
6. Raids and Detention. Many people are worried that Trump will send our “Deportation Squads” t round people up. Frankly, that is not going to happen. Such actions are simply unconstitutional, and cost lots of money, money the government does not have. Of course, ICE will continue to look for people with prior removal orders, those with criminal arrest and convictions, and anyone with a DUI in their past, ICE will detain those people and try to process them quickly for deportation. Everyone, of course, is entitled to a hearing and to fight their case, but after a few weeks in detention many people give up and want to leave. ICE detains people for this very reason, so if you have a good case, you have to stay and fight it, because once you are deported, you are not coming back for ten years. The bottom line here is that there will NOT be raids of homes or neighborhoods looking for random people on January 20, 2017, BUT ICE will surely double down on their efforts to find people with prior orders of deportation and even minor crimes in their past.
Our next blog will talk about the parts of the law that will not change immediately, and what people should be pursing now to try to fix their immigration status.