President Trump’s immigration actions have many immigrants worried about how it all will affect them. Here we have summarized what plans Trump has announced, what actions he has already taken, and what it all means for you. Our firm focuses solely on immigration and is dedicated to helping immigrants work through these new changes. If you need to fix your legal status, now is the time to do it. Give us a call today and set up a consultation to find out what options are available to you.
USCIS Has Changed Its Priorities in Processing Affirmative Asylum Applications
Starting January 29, 2018, priority will be given to assigning interviews for the most recently filed affirmative asylum applications. The objective in this change is to deter people from filing asylum applications that have no merit for the purpose of delaying their removal from the United States. By giving priority to new applications, individuals will not be able to take advantage of the substantial backlog of applications to buy themselves time. More importantly, the decisions will likely be made within 6 months, meaning the asylum applicants will not qualify for work permits.
New priorities are as follow:
- First priority: Applications that were scheduled for an interview, but the interview had to be rescheduled at the applicant’s request or the needs of USCIS.
- Second priority: Applications that have been pending 21 days or less.
- Third priority: All other pending affirmative asylum applications will be scheduled for interviews starting with newer filings and working back towards older filings.
This means that new applications will go through quickly, but also that applications that have already been pending for years may be greatly delayed. If you have a pending application and have an urgent need for USCIS to schedule your interview, they will consider your request to be scheduled outside of the new priority order. If you are considering filing an application for asylum, give us a call as soon as possible to ensure that it is done correctly.
You Can Now Renew Your DACA Again!
Since June 15, 2012, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (also known as “DACA”) has been a program that allowed certain undocumented immigrants to get a temporary work permit. To qualify, you had to have arrived in the U.S. before the age of 16, continuously resided in the U.S. since June 15, 2007, and met an educational requirement. This program was terminated by President Trump on September 5, 2017.
However, on January 13, 2018, a court injunction made it possible to renew your DACA again as long as you meet the following criteria:
- You must have previously been approved for DACA; no first time DACA applications will be accepted. Renewal applications will be accepted for those who have a currently valid DACA and for those whose DACA expired less than a year ago.
- The same eligibility requirement as before still apply. You must:
- Have not departed the United States on or after Aug. 15, 2012, without advance parole
- Have continuously resided in the United States since you submitted your most recent DACA request that was approved; and
- Have not been convicted of a felony, a significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not otherwise pose a threat to national security or public safety.
If your renewal is approved, your DACA benefits will be exactly the same as they were before the program was canceled.
This policy will be in place “until further notice.” We do not believe that this policy will be in effect for long so now is the time to renew.
New Enforcement Priorities
DON’T GET ARRESTED!!!
- Removable aliens who have been convicted of ANY criminal offense;
- have been charged with any criminal offense that 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 before a government agency;
- have abused any program related to the receipt of public benefits;
- are subject to a final order of removal but have not departed;
- or otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
Note that this does not make an exception for anyone who was once charged with a criminal offense but has since been acquitted of those charges. So, please do not get arrested.
End of Catch and Release
If you are caught crossing the border you will not be allowed to enter and wait for your hearing. If you decide to fight your removal, you will be detained until your case can be heard.
Expand Expedited Removal
Allows for the removal of people without a chance to see a judge. This is mainly for people who have been here less than two weeks.
Many people getting caught on the border will get this now, along with the penalties that come with it.
Children Travelling Alone
Parents will be prosecuted for encouraging their children to show up unaccompanied. Please do not encourage your child to come to the United States unaccompanied. Not only is it dangerous for your child, but you could have major legal problems, including potential jail time.
Secure Communities Restored
- Requires local law enforcement to share information with DHS about individuals in its custody.
- Authorizes DHS to issue detainers to local jails and correctional facilities for the purpose of holding an individual until ICE can take custody, even if it is beyond the scheduled release date.
- So, if you get arrested, Immigration will likely be notified.
President Trump wants to expand the role of local police in immigration enforcement.
End Sanctuary Cities
If ICE has a hold on an immigrant, there really is no safe city to go to.
VOICE – “Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement”
Victims and families will be provided with information about the offender, such as immigration status and custody status, and will answer questions regarding enforcement efforts.
Increase number of ICE agents
Hire 10,000 new ICE agents as well as the operational and mission support and legal staff necessary to support their activities.
Establishment of Programs to Collect Civil Fines and Penalties
This targets illegal aliens and those who facilitate their unlawful presence (employers).
Temporary Ban on Immigration From Certain Countries
Temporarily stop all immigration from certain Muslim countries, including all refugees, until a harder vetting process can be implemented.
Build the Wall
President Trump has asked for billions of dollars to build a wall that will do very little to stop illegal immigration.
President Trump wants to reform immigration in general. Who knows, it might be a good thing that he got elected.
If there is something you can do to fix your legal status, do it now.
Otherwise: Be patient. Don’t rob a bank. Be a good person. You might just get to stay.