Archives for February 2017

What Repeal of DACA Could Mean for U.S. Economy

Six years ago, President Barack Obama signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) into law, giving hundreds of thousands of young adults who were brought into the United States as children a chance to live a normal life. Those who applied for DACA status and met the requirements were able to go to college, legally work, and get driver licenses to allow them to come out of hiding and become productive residents of the United States without fear of deportation. Now, under the Trump administration, undocumented immigrants, including these young adults and their parents, could lose their right to work legally in this country and countless families could be torn apart. What many fail to realize, though, is that if President-elect Trump makes good on the promise he made to his voters, the U.S. economy will also suffer because of it.

The Economics of Immigration

If DACA is repealed, almost 645,000 undocumented immigrants will lose their right to work in the United States. Businesses would be legally obligated to immediately terminate workers who are undocumented. This would mean having to find and train new employees to fill these job vacancies. According to the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in San Francisco, this could possibly cost businesses up to $3.4 billion dollars.

Social security card applicationHowever, it is not just the cost to businesses that could cause major setbacks if immigrants lose DACA status; there are additional implications to the economy. The U.S. would also lose the tax revenue that comes from the undocumented workers protected by DACA. This means diminished contributions to Medicare and Social Security (losses totaling roughly $4.6 billion and $19.9 billion respectively). These programs are already struggling; the loss of immigrant contributions could mean reducing payments to many elderly citizens who rely on them to live.

If you are currently protected by DACA, it is important to be informed about how potential changes to U.S. immigration law may affect your immigration status. The attorneys of Brownstein & Nguyen are on your side. Contact us for legal assistance with your Atlanta immigration case.

3 Takeaways from the 9th Circuit Court’s Executive Order Ruling

The states of Washington and Minnesota (later joined by 17 more states) filed a lawsuit against President Trump’s recent executive order banning entry into the United States by citizens of 7 majority Muslim countries, claiming the ban harms the interests of the states, their citizens and legal residents. On February 9, a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously voted to uphold federal district judge Robart’s temporary block of President Trump’s administration ban. What does this decision mean for U.S. citizens, refugees, and immigrants?

Upholding Checks and Balances

judge's gavelThe administration argued that the judiciary branch should defer completely to the executive branch on orders purportedly affecting national security, primarily because the court is not aware of pertinent classified information that only the president knows. In upholding lower court’s decision, the appeals court rejected this argument, affirming that under the U.S. constitution the courts play a critical role in acting as a check on the power of the executive branch, including immigration matters.

[T]he Government has taken the position that the President’s decision about immigration policy, particularly when motivated by national security concerns, are unreviewable, even if those actions potentially contravene constitutional rights and protections. . . There is no precedent to support this claimed unreviewability, which runs contrary to the fundamental structure of our constitutional democracy. . . [T]he Supreme Court has repeatedly and explicitly rejected the notion that the political branches have unreviewable authority over immigration or are not subject to the Constitution when policymaking in that context.

Right to Due Process

The 9th Circuit also held that the states showed a likelihood of success on their contention that the immigration ban violates due process rights afforded to non-citizens as well as U.S. born citizens, naturalized citizens, green card and visa holders.

The procedural protections provided by the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause are not limited to citizens. Rather, they “appl[y] to all ‘persons’ within the United States, including aliens,” regardless of “whether their presence here is lawful, unlawful, temporary, or permanent.” . . . These rights also apply to certain aliens attempting to re-enter the United States after traveling abroad.

No Need for Immediate Action

While the Trump administration claimed that the immigration ban was a pressing matter of national security, the 9th Circuit court held that the administration failed to present evidence supporting the immediate need for the order. The court also considered evidence presented by the states that doing so could harm U.S. interests and those of its citizens and legal residents.

[T]he public has a powerful interest in national security and in the ability of an elected president to enact policies. . . [T]he public also has an interest in free flow of travel, in avoiding separation of families, and in freedom from discrimination. We need not characterize the public interest more definitely than this; when considered alongside the hardships discussed above, these competing public interests do not justify a stay.

After initially seeking reconsideration by the full 9th Circuit, yesterday the Trump administration withdrew its request and told the court it would rescind the travel ban, a complete victory for the states. The president has promised to issue a new executive order soon that complies with the law. The states, immigration advocates and affected families and individual will be watching, ready to challenge the president again if he oversteps his authority.

The attorneys at Brownstein & Nguyen have decades of experience with immigration cases in Atlanta. Contact us to evaluate your immigration case today.

What Immigrants Need to Know about the Ban

When it comes to matters of immigration and national security, the courts often defer to the executive branch. But with President Trump’s recent immigration order, announced with much fanfare late Friday, January 27, 2017, concerned immigration advocates, citizens and affected individuals are pushing back. The ban seeks to temporarily block entry into the U.S. for citizens and immigrants from seven countries in the Middle East, and blocks entry for nearly all refugees. The question the administration and country face: is Trump’s immigration ban unconstitutional?

The 411 on the Immigration Ban

statue of libertyTrump’s immigration ban purports to keep Americans safe by heightening border security. According to the presidential administration, the order has been put in place temporarily while the national security team analyzes and updates vetting procedures for U.S. immigrants. The immigration ban:

  • Puts a 120 day suspension on refugee resettlement into the United States
  • Cut the annual number of refugees allowed into the U.S. from 110,000 to 50,000
  • Indefinitely bans resettlement of refugees from Syria
  • Suspends immigration from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen for 90 days
  • Provides exemptions for foreign diplomats and members of certain international organizations
  • Prioritizes refugees facing religious persecution if it is a minority religion in their country of origin
  • Initially included prohibiting green card holders from reentering the United States, which the administration later clarified was intended only to apply to legal permanent residents suspected of terrorist activity

Because the detention of green card holders occurs on a case by case basis, immigrants on student visas or work visas, among others, may be denied re-entry into the U.S.

Is the Immigration Ban Legal?

Many American citizens and legal residents have pushed back against the immigration ban. An order by Seattle federal district judge James Robart placed a temporary restraining order on the executive order on Friday, February 3rd. This was the second federal judge to do so. The matter has gone to the Ninth Circle Court of Appeals, which is currently debating whether to reinstate Trump’s immigration ban. They are expected to reach a decision this week on the legality of the ban.

If you or someone you know may be affected by the immigration ban, contact Brownstein & Nguyen to evaluate your case.