The election is finally over, and the country has a new president-elect. In light of this, many individuals are fearful that the new administration will change immigration policies, which may increase the likelihood of deportations.
I have U.S. citizens calling my office concerned about their status, so I can only imagine how someone who is undocumented may be feeling. There are, however, certain things individuals can do today to get a proper assessment of their immigration status:
1. Be proactive. Do not sit back and wait to “see” what the Trump administration will do. According to contributing journalist Teresa Puente from Time magazine, “Trump promised to build a wall and create a deportation force.” If individuals are concerned for themselves or their loved ones, they should seek the advice of an immigration attorney immediately. An immigration attorney would be in the best position to assess what can be done about a person’s chances of remaining in this great country and/or avoiding deportation.
2. Become a U.S. citizen. If an individual is a legal permanent resident (someone with a green card) and qualifies for naturalization, this may be the final push needed to submit naturalization documents and become a U.S. citizen. Many permanent residents feel that their status as a permanent resident is the same as the status of that of a U.S. citizen. It is not. Permanent residents cannot vote, cannot remain outside the U.S. for a prolonged period of time and must renew their green card every 10 years. Once a person naturalizes and becomes a citizen, these limitations no longer apply.
3. Discuss options with your family. For undocumented individuals, it is very possible that they may have family members who are documented and willing to submit a petition on their behalf. The immigration system works on a connect-the-dots approach, where one documented family member may petition for an undocumented family member. This approach ensures that the immediate family remains intact.
Despite who the new White House resident is, immigration lawyers will continue to be the first responders should justice for immigrants be compromised.