What to do Right Now: Donald Trump Elected
November 10th, 2016
Contributor: Alary E. Piibe
Stunned by events, immigrants awoke this morning to see Donald Trump elected to the White House. Many are now fearful, due to President-elect Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric and his promises to un-do current immigration laws.
What To Expect, How To Prepare
The following are benefits and laws which we expect will change, and our advice for what you should do now:
I-601A Provisional Waivers—Apply Immediately: The I-601A Waiver program allows some immigrants to substantially shorten the green card process, and avoid leaving the U.S. to wait in their home country for 6 months or longer. (See here for more information). This was enacted by President Obama, and would be easy for Trump to cancel.
Why should you apply now before Trump takes office on January 20, 2017? Because when you file and pay the filing fee, a contract is created between you and the government. This requires USCIS to process your application, even if the program is canceled at a later date. File your case even if you don’t have all of your complete evidence. The government will give you an opportunity to supplement the record at a later date.
DACA – Apply Immediately: DACA protects certain people who were brought to the U.S. as young children, and it gives them work permits. For the same reason as I-601A Waivers above, apply now to stake your claim. But you should be aware that you will be entered into a database, and Trump could try to deport you in the future when your DACA expires. It seems doubtful that the government could work fast enough to cancel existing DACA status and the work permits, but in the future they would not be renewable.
Why apply for DACA if it enters you into a database? Right now, DACA allows you to apply for permission to travel outside the U.S. and return without problems. This means a lawful entry into the U.S., which can have an enormous positive impact on an immigrant’s ability to get a green card in the future.
Mass Deportations Are Unlikely: Mass deportations are unrealistic, because the government does not have enough money to pay for more ICE Officers to go searching for people, or more facilities for detention. Also, immigration laws allow most people to see an Immigration Judge before being removed from the U.S. This process could take several years, and you could be eligible for a work permit while waiting.
Old Immigration Court Cases Could Be Revived: If a Judge ordered you deported in the past, this might be the first place where new Trump policies will begin. Or if your case was put in “Administrative Closure” or “Prosecutorial Discretion,” your case could be reopened and you would have to go back to Court. Hill & Piibe can review old Court files to see if there is a danger.
File Family Petitions Now: The sooner you get your relative in line to receive a green card, you raise the chances at safety.
We will continue to monitor for any Trump immigration policies, but rest assured that Trump cannot change most of the existing laws on his own. Never give up hope and we are available to review your circumstances.