Ever since the results of the recent presidential election, thousands of immigrants across the United States have been living in fear. The new president’s campaign for office was built on a promise of mass deportations, using some kind of unspecified deportation force, and a wall stretched along the southern border which Mexico would somehow be responsible for funding. His policies also seemed to change fairly often, shifting from a hardline policy to a more forgiving, empathetic one depending on his audience and the tone of the public.
The Oval Office’s new occupant has already issued several executive orders regarding immigration, implementing the following policies:
- Stripping federal grant money from sanctuary cities
- Hiring 10,000 more immigration officers
- Creating a public list of crimes committed by undocumented people, updated weekly
- Increasing detainment
- The creation of an office to assist victims of crimes committed specifically by undocumented immigrants
- Constructing a wall, funded by the U.S. government
- Hiring 5,000 more Border Patrol agents
- Building facilities to hold undocumented immigrants near the U.S.-Mexico border
- Ending “catch-and-release” protocols
- Suspending the entry of immigrants from 7 Muslim-majority countries
- Creating a task force to reduce illegal immigration
During his campaign, the current president proposed a “mass deportation” of illegal immigrants. He later amended his statement to clarify that those who have committed crimes or overstayed visas will be prioritized over other undocumented immigrants, but that all are “subject to deportation.” People who have entered the country illegally but have lived in the United States for years without incidence will not be able to apply for legalization or permanent residency status without being deported back to their country of origin. He has also proposed denying birthright citizenship to children of undocumented immigrants born on U.S. soil, and was interested in “find[ing] out whether or not anchor babies are citizens.” It’s unknown if the denial will apply to children who now legally have American citizenship.
While the executive order banning travel from Muslim-majority countries has been blocked by James Robart, a U.S. district senior judge, the current administration plans to take the decision to the Supreme Court. As this government seems to be targeting Muslims as a scapegoat, it is possible that undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes will be concurrently deported along with undocumented immigrants of Muslim faith, whether or not they have committed misdemeanors or felonies.
Legal immigrants of Muslim faith who are here with visas may also find their application for visa renewal denied. While nothing has been said publically about denying visas to immigrants from Islamic countries currently in the United States, those who were outside the U.S. when the executive order was put into place were prevented from re-entry despite their legally held and up-to-date visas.
The first large immigration raid of this administration arrested 678 people in 12 states, only 74% of which had been convicted of crimes. If you’re concerned about becoming a target for deportation, make sure you have a lawyer who’ll have your best interests in mind. Contact one of our Fort Lauderdale immigration attorneys at (888) 936-3228 or fill out our online form to discuss your case.