It is no surprise that the Trump administration’s policies have started to have serious effects in almost every imaginable aspect of our system. This is especially true when it comes to immigration. Regarding immigration, president Trump has been true to his word about being much tougher on individuals with both criminal histories or just in a “transitional” immigration status than the Obama administration was. Most people I talk to feel that removing dangerous or violent individuals from this country so that they cannot prey upon others is a good thing, but they do not feel it is fair that ICE is being so harsh with people who have not created problems in their communities.
The prior administration had a 3-tiered deportation priority process that first focused on the most dangerous people (terrorists, murderers and drug dealers) then moved to those with prior
deportations or prior immigration-related violations and left the remaining immigrants with no
negative histories as the lowest priority for deportations. The current administration theoretically
treats all individuals with immigration issues the same whether they are a housewives or
terrorists. Practically speaking, however, this is not the case. ICE is still primarily concerned
with people who do bad things and focus on removing them from the US first. But, if someone
happens to come to the attention of ICE (usually through minor driving-related problems), they
will probably be targeted for deportation the same way as someone with a criminal history.
Another change with the current administration relates to the processing of cases in the courts
as well as the asylum offices. The government is no longer permitting cases to drag on into the
future. The attorney general announced earlier this month that immigration court judges will no
longer be allowed to “administratively close” cases to allow immigrants additional time to obtain
approvals outside of the court (USCIS or state courts) to aid in fighting their deportations cases.
This means that deportation proceedings will move forward very quickly and individuals who
have not planned ahead or obtained important approvals helpful for their cases will be at a
serious disadvantage in deportation proceedings.
This I why it is highly recommended that people with US citizen or permanent resident relatives,
to file their sponsorship applications as soon as possible. Many immigrants may have children
born in the US that can sponsor them. If your US citizen child is 21 years old or older, you
should immediately have them start your immigration process since these initial approvals
usually take 9 months to a year to get approved.
Similar to the courts pushing cases forward, asylum offices are also changing the way they
process claims. In the past, asylum seekers would file their requests and would wait 3-4 years
before having their interview scheduled and another 1-2 years before receiving a decision after
their interview. This allowed applicants up to 5 years to live and work in the US without fear of
being deported. Unfortunately, this process has been heavily abused by people who come to
the US just to find work. As a result, the asylum offices are now required to place all new
applications for asylum to the front of the line and scheduling their interviews within the first 2-3 months of their filing. The intent is to discourage people from committing immigration fraud by using the asylum process as a way to get around the strict rules for work authorization.
So, what does this mean to the immigrant population? This means that you have to be much
more careful, more prepared and smarter about your immigration processes and cases. As we
move forward under the current administration’s immigration processes, it will be critical for
individuals to file for whatever process they can file for as soon as they are able to rather than
putting it off.
Also, more than ever, you must make sure to stay out of trouble with the local police and courts
and do not drive if you do not have a valid license no matter how inconvenient that may be. The
quickest and easiest way to be arrested by ICE and deported is through minor driving offences.
The new changes also means that you must make sure to get proper legal assistance when you
are looking to file for an immigration process and especially when you are defending your
If you have questions about the changes going on in the immigration system or whether you can file for some sort of benefit, please contact Marvin Law Office at 616-450-2981 to schedule a
consultation to discuss your options.