Archives for December 2016

Trump’s Call to Deport Criminals

As the United States prepares for the transition of power to President-elect Donald Trump, it is a time of uncertainty and fear for immigrants in this country, especially those who may have committed a crime no matter how small. Throughout his campaign, Trump proposed the immediate deportation of criminals. During his first  appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes after the election, Trump vowed to deport up to three million immigrants who have committed crimes. However, this number is likely inflated and includes both those who are in the United States illegally as well as those have obtained legal status.

A 2013 report by the Department of Homeland Security estimated approximately 1.9 million “removable criminal aliens” are in the United States. That number includes legal permanent residents holding green cards and those with temporary visas, as well as people who have been convicted of nonviolent crimes such as theft and not just those convicted of felonies or gang-related violence.

Is This Even Possible?

National security targetThe possible number of immigrants Trump is targeting is extraordinarily aggressive. According to Kevin Appleby, the senior director of international migration policy at the Center for Migration Studies of New York, Trump “would have to conduct a sweep, or raids or tactics such as those, to reach the numbers he wants to reach. It would create a police state, in which they would have to be aggressively looking for people.”

Essentially, what Trump advocated during the presidential campaign would require special “deportation forces” and an unprecedented increase in staff, resources and cost. Even during President Obama’s two terms (from 2008-2016) when deportations reached all-time highs, the largest number of people deported in one year was 410,000 in 2012. In 2015, that number declined to 235,000.

What You Need to Know

Technically, in the eyes of the law, any immigrant in the country illegally could be considered a criminal. Those who are most are risk for deportation as criminals would be those who have already been convicted and are serving current jail sentences under the law.

Under immigration the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996, any immigrant who is targeted for deportation/removal can apply for various immigration benefits if they are eligible. These benefits include:

  • Adjustment of permanent resident status
  • Cancellation of removal
  • Waivers of inadmissibility
  • Asylum
  • Withholding of removal

If you are the subject of government action for deportation or removal, you still have rights. Contact the Atlanta immigration attorneys at Brownstein & Nguyen LLC for help.

What Trump’s New Policies May Mean for Immigrants

The 2016 presidential election has left many immigrants and others concerned with immigration reform reeling. President-elect Donald Trump focused heavily on deportation plans and immigration bans during his candidacy. With the new administration poised to take office in just a few weeks, Trump’s policies c0ould have a major impact on U.S. immigrants.

Trump’s 10 Point Immigration Plan

As outlined on his website, Trump’s immigration plan includes:

  1. barbed wire fenceBuilding a wall on our Southern border (paid for by Mexico)
  2. Detaining undocumented immigrants until they’re deported
  3. Immediately deporting immigrants who have committed crimes in the U.S. (including entering the country illegally) 
  4. Ending sanctuary cities
  5. Terminating Obama’s executive amnesty programs for undocumented immigrants, and increasing the number of ICE agents to deport these immigrants
  6. Suspending visas to certain countries until adequate security vetting can be guaranteed
  7. Ensuring other countries take back people when the U.S. orders their deportation
  8. Implementing biometric entry-exit tracking
  9. Turning off jobs and benefits magnets
  10. Reforming immigration to put American workers first

DACA in Jeopardy

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, initially put into place by President Obama in 2012, protects immigrants who arrived as children from deportation by giving them access to temporary work visas. President-elect Trump has promised “on day 1” to reverse executive actions like DACA that protect undocumented immigrants. If he does so, it will remove protected status from some 750,000 immigrants, putting them at immediate risk for deportation. Advocacy groups recommend that undocumented immigrants not currently protected under DACA refrain from applying for DACA status until the Trump administration makes clear their plans for immigration and deportation.

A Tighter Stance on Immigration

Never one to mince words, Trump did not shy from denouncing Mexican and Muslim immigration during his campaign. Although the Trump administration has yet to release an official statement on immigration policy, a leak by Trump transition team member (and one-time candidate for a Cabinet position) Kris Kobach outlined several potential Homeland Security plans.

  • Update and reintroduce NSEERS to screen and track immigrants from high-risk areas (the so-called “Muslim registry”)
  • Add extreme vetting for “high-risk aliens”
  • Use authority from the 1980 Refugee Act to reduce immigration from Syria to zero
  • Increase Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE)

On December 22, 2016 the Obama administration officially terminated the NSEERS program. However, the Trump administration could reinstate it or something similar.

Immigration groups are already pushing back against President-elect Trump’s proposed policies, which threaten the rights and freedom of both documented and undocumented immigrants to the U.S.

Brownstein & Nguyen has decades of experience handling complicated immigration issues. Don’t live in fear of deportation. Contact our Atlanta immigration law office to evaluate your case.