Now that we know who the next President will be, the immigrant community’s attention has turned largely to what will happen in President-elect Trump’s first 100 days in office. There is a lot of widespread fear and apprehension, and understandably so, but whether one’s worst fears will come to materialize has yet to be seen. From what he has already indicated, there are certain segments of the immigrant community that may be in imminent jeopardy. One prominent aspect of President-elect Trump’s platform was to repeal or cancel all of President Obama’s Executive Actions on immigration. As a result, “Dreamers”–in particular, those who applied for and have deferred action under the “DACA” program-may soon lose their protection and work authorization. Some wonder whether this means that renewals will not be entertained, or worse, that those who already have DACA protection will immediately lose it.
Besides the likely demise of DACA, we are obviously headed towards a step up in enforcement in which there may be more raids and apprehensions. What remains to be seen is whether and how President-elect Trump alters the detention and removal priorities set out by Secretary Jeh Johnson under President Obama in 2014. Currently, ICE is supposed to be concentrating its efforts in going after people who have arrived here illegally recently and aliens with criminal convictions (in addition to those suspected of terrorism and gang activity). Undocumented and out of status individuals have always, of course, been vulnerable to removal, but may have had more viable chances of receiving prosecutorial discretion. Now, we will need to see whether ICE is directed to focus on those who may be here illegally but who do not have criminal records. This would obviously apply to a large contingent of the illegal immigrant population here in the US.
Cancellation of DACA and Increased Enforcement appear to be the two areas that will hit home for most people here in the US. There are also, of course, plans to be build a massive border wall and possibly restrict immigration from countries having ties to terrorism. Again, while these are all real possibilities, especially with a Republican Controlled Congress, it is also important not to panic. Campaigning for office is one thing, but running the country is an entirely different matter. President-elect Trump did call for unity during his victory speech, and he did adopt a more conciliatory tone that was markedly different from his campaign rhetoric. Certain things will likely be implemented, but this does not necessarily mean that action will be taken on everything that was discussed.
The above is general information/opinion only and does not constitute legal advice. It is not intended to substitute for legal advice from an attorney nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.