What does a President Trump mean for immigration? This question has been asked by millions of people around the world since his election on November 8th. Throughout his campaign, the now president elect was boisterous on building a wall along the Mexican border, deporting all undocumented immigrants, and eliminating immigration policies implemented by President Obama. Not only would his immigration policies affect the undocumented immigrant but, as published in his ten-point plan to "Put America First," could also affect professional immigrants. It is uncertain if President Trump will remain true to his promise of eliminating all immigration policies created by President Obama; but should he follow through, we have an idea of what he might do.
First, we expect President Trump to cancel President Obama's executive order that created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA provides protection against removal to thousands of individuals who meet specific presence, educational, and criminal prerequisites. It was never a path to citizenship nor a grant of lawful status. The elimination of this program would ban their employment and allow their deportation on grounds of unlawful presence. DACA holders are now unsure if they should try to renew their DACA period and risk monetary loss, or wait to see what happens and risk unemployment.
Military Parole in Place
With the elimination of DACA we could also see the elimination of Military Parole in Place. Military PIP is a program for immediate family members (including undocumented family members) of the United States military to apply for lawful admission to the United States so that they can pursue Permanent Residence without having to leave the country. Should this program be eliminated, these family members would have to adjust their status through consular processing, which requires them to leave the country, pass an interview at a US consulate, and most likely obtain a waiver of unlawful presence. However, this process is risky. Family members could face a three or ten-year bar from the United States if they do not obtain the waiver.
I-601A Provisional Waiver
Certain immediate family members of citizens or green card holders who do not qualify for Military PIP can currently apply for the aforementioned waiver before departing the United States. Previously, certain family members with unlawful presence were expected to leave the country for months to begin and complete a waiver based on hardships to their U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident relatives. If the waiver was granted, they could continue with Consular Processing as mentioned above. If it were denied, they would be forced to remain outside the country for three to ten years. It was risky, so many people did not file waivers until the I-601A provisional waiver process was introduced. This new process allowed family members to apply while still in the United States, and only leave the country upon approval. This reduced the risk of being stuck outside the country and reduced the waiting time outside the country from several months to just a couple weeks. It is possible that this I-601A process could also be eliminated, returning us to the process of having to depart the United States first and then completing the whole process abroad without knowing how the waiver will turn out.
Finally, we could see an increase in arrests and deportations from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Since his election, President Trump appears less committed to the daunting task of deporting all undocumented immigrants. However, he remains steadfast on his promise to increase deportations of undocumented individuals with criminal histories and those with deportation orders who remain in the United States.
At Grzeca Law Group, we understand these changes could dramatically affect our clients and the immigrant community as a whole. As such, our staff is working tirelessly to submit certain applications, such as the I-601A, before their elimination. We remain up to date with any changes, and can provide thorough and educated advice. If you or someone you know will be affected by any of the possible changes, please call our office at (414) 342-3000 and make an appointment to speak with one of our attorneys.