The recent Executive Order signed by President Trump has spurred fears in the immigrant community about future immigration actions and how these actions will affect individuals and families who currently reside in the country. At this time, we cannot predict what the changes are going to be, but we can help our community take the steps necessary to protect themselves and to prepare a course of action depending on their immigration status.
It is prudent for a citizen with a foreign accent who is traveling within the 100 mile border zone* (Grand Rapids is inside this zone) to carry proof of their citizenship such as a copy of the naturalization certificate, US passport or passport card. You many encounter situations where you will need to show your proof of status. We also recommend having copies of all documents in a safe place that is accessible to other members of the family.
Lawful Permanent Residents
Federal law (Sec. 264. [8 U.S.C. 1304] (e)) requires all permanent residents to carry their green card at all times. It is also important to have copies of your documents at home in a safe, designated location where somebody else can access them if necessary. Also, please remember to renew your card six months before its expiration date and as soon as you are able to, apply for naturalization. Permanent Residents can be subject to deportation, but citizens cannot.
Immigrants in various temporary status’ (TPS, DACA, EADs, U Visa) or Visa Holders
As mentioned above, residents should carry proof of their status at all times, in this case, you should carry your employment authorization card, I-94, passport with entry stamp, or other proof of lawful presence in the country. Also, remember to keep copies in a safe and accessible place so somebody can have access to it, if necessary.
Advance Parole: If you are considering traveling to another country using an Advance Parole, think about postponing your plans at this time. Considering the current immigration climate, re-entering the country could be challenging.
Undocumented Immigrant Residents in the Country for 10 years or more with Children
You are eligible for Cancellation of Removal and release on a bond. Seek assistance from an experienced immigration attorney on what type of documents are required for this process. Good preparation wins cases!
Non-US Citizens (undocumented immigrants, visa holders, permanent residents, temporary status) with a prior criminal conviction or who are arrested
As seen in the last several years, the government’s deportation priorities have targeted individuals with a criminal past. Depending on the type of crime you committed, you would have the option of being released on a bond and could receive some kind of immigration relief. Consult an experienced immigration attorney about your options and be proactive in the preparation of documents needed for your case as well as saving money for the bond.
Immigrants with Prior Deportation Orders
If you returned to the country despite having a prior deportation, you are committing the crime of “reentry after deportation”. The current administration has ordered ICE to increase their efforts in deporting people charged with this crime. The type of crime you were deported for will also dictate your sentence in federal prison. Again, seek the advice of an experienced immigration attorney to evaluate your options for relief.
In general, if you are in the country without any lawful immigration status, have a plan in place. Talk to your spouse and other family members and make decisions about who can take care of your children in case of an arrest. Have a power of attorney in place giving authority to those you trust with the care of your family and property. Seek legal advice, evaluate your options and be prepared.
* 100 Mile Border Zone - Immigration and Nationality Act 287(a)(3)