While the Trump administration scrambles to reunite immigrant children separated from their parents at the border, it is taking other measures to change the existing legal immigration system. In this podcast from NPR, New York immigration lawyer Cheryl David talks about how the immigration process has been changed by the Trump administration:
The president has signed numerous executive orders in the name of national security safety – the other notion of buy American, hire American. So everything is, you know, vetted more strongly than it was before, probably unnecessarily because we had some very good procedures in place. In October of 2017, the administration had indicated that we are now going to have to interview every applicant applying for a green card. So previously, employment-based cases, for the most part, weren’t interviewed. Now they’re in the queue for interviewing. So that’s set family-based immigration back tremendously.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order today to try to stem criticism of his family separation policy. He has offered an unacceptable alternative: imprisoning mothers and fathers with their children. The president is also asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to request that a court modify and effectively dismantle the Flores settlement. That settlement protects children held by the government and sets forth standards of care.
The following is a statement from Beth Werlin, Executive Director of the American Immigration Council:
“Today’s executive order does nothing to change the fact that the Trump administration is attacking families and criminalizing asylum seekers. The zero-tolerance policy is cruel and unnecessary. We should not have to choose between separating parents from their children and expanding the shameful practice of imprisoning families. Our experience defending families in detention, first in Artesia, New Mexico and now in Dilley, Texas, has taught us that family detention is never humane.”
Leila Fajardo-Giles was scheduled to receive her law degree from Suffolk University Law School this week, but she’s already chosen the path she’ll be focusing on in her new legal career: immigration. Fajardo-Giles is a dreamer, one of the hundreds of thousands of young people whose future remains cloudy because of the ongoing legal and political battles regarding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program created by the Obama administration that is under siege from his successor. During her last year at Suffolk, Fajardo-Giles got some valuable experience working for the university’s immigration clinic, and helped a teenager gain asylum status. Read more about her ambitious plans at The Boston Globe.
While a bipartisan bill introduced in Congress aims to address two of the more pressing issues on immigration, a path to citizenship for ‘dreamers’ and spending more on border security along the Mexican border with the US, the proposal may not have a good chance of getting President Trump’s signature. If Washington is unable to agree on a solution to the expiration of the DACA program in March, one immigration advocate is calling on cities, counties and states to find the courage to stand up to the Trump administration’s tougher policies and actions on immigration. Juan Escalante says with some states like Florida considering their own stricter immigration legislation, more states need to step up on behalf of dreamers like New York, New Jersey and California. You can read more in Escalante’s column at HuffPost.
The Trump administration says it will bring an end to the provisional residency status of about 200,000 Salvadorans who have been living in the US since at least 2001, according to the Washington Post. The move means the Salvadorans will now face deportation unless they meet a September 2019 deadline to either leave the country or find a way to obtain a green card. It’s the latest step by the Trump administration to limit the number of immigrants living in the US, either by limiting the number allowed to enter the country or by forcing those without legal status to leave. The Salvadorans affected by the move had been granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) after earthquakes ravaged the South American country in 2001.
An editorial at The Washington Post points out that “the overwhelming majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have no criminal record.” But that hasn’t slowed the work of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents who are rounding up “not just criminal undocumented immigrants, but law-abiding ones as well.” Of the approximately 143,000 immigrants arrested by ICE in the past year, more than 25% had no criminal convictions. Most were guilty of non-violent crimes. The Post‘s Editorial Board examines the issues legal immigrants face in this editorial.