With the election of Donald J. Trump, it is a good time to find out if you or your family member is eligible for something better than Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”). There are three reasons we should talk.
First, it’s a good idea to find out if you qualify for something new. For some if you it has been years since we had our initial consultation; perhaps something about you or your relationships has changed. Also, no one knows exactly what President Trump will do about undocumented immigrants after he is sworn in as President on January 20, 2017.
However, he has told us what changes he wants to make. President-elect Trump has said he will end Obama’s “Executive Actions” — and DACA is an Executive Action. But no one knows when, or even if, he’ll do it. So we are still filing DACA renewals as early as we can. There doesn’t seem to be much downside. If your DACA is ending in 6-9 months, TELL ME. We should give it a shot. If you didn’t file already, we should discuss and see if it is the right choice for you.
Second, it seems inevitable that President Trump will make life harder on the immigrant community once he becomes President. It would cost billions of dollars to deport all undocumented immigrants, so many don’t foresee mass deportations as a viable option. But there is a sense that his administration might just try to make it so hard to live life normally that some would decide to leave on their own. So, for instance, his
Administration, in the words of transition team member Kris Kobach, could crack down on employers of undocumented immigrants, or he could make unlawful employment a serious offense. Can’t legally work, can’t drive – this would be enough pressure to convince some undocumented immigrants to leave on their own. Ending DACA, or just letting the program die out by not allowing renewals after he is President, might also accomplish this. So we try should try to find an alternative before he officially becomes President.
Third, now is the time to plan, not panic. DACA’s are already doing so many things right – you don’t have a criminal record, you graduated from high school (or are studying to do so) or college, and you’ve probably got at least one job keeping you busy.
If Trump is smart, he’ll figure out a way to keep you here, legally. He has already stated that his first priorities are deporting criminal undocumented immigrants and building a wall. THEN, Trump has stated, he will decide what to do about the “terrific people” who are in the U.S. without status (he actually said you DREAMERs and DACAs are terrific!). A number of commentators feel like real Comprehensive Immigration Reform is on the horizon, though it’s probably going to make things tougher for most, rather than easier. In order to be harsh on some groups (most likely persons with a criminal record), Congress could try to soften and sell it by helping some immigrant groups. DACA’s and DREAMER’s are probably a group who could finally win big.
Problem is: when? And what if he doesn’t? We don’t know when anything will happen. But we know that if President Trump leaves the system we have in place for the time being, many of you could be able to maintain your current status, or get something better.
So I want to hear from YOU. To get the conversation started, here are 27 questions:
- Have you gotten married? Even if your spouse has DACA, or even if they don’t have legal status, perhaps they have a way to stay in the United States that would also give you status.
- Are you now married to a U.S. Citizen or U.S. Lawful Permanent Resident (“green card holder”)?
- Does a parent, spouse, or child expect to become a US citizen or get a green card soon?
- Do you have a U.S. citizen child?
- Do you have a spouse, parent, or child who has severe mental, medical, or emotional disability?
- Have you or a family member (parent, spouse, child) been a victim of crime in the United States, and cooperated with the police in any way?
- Have you ever in the United States had to call the police for help?
- Have you ever been forced to work exceptionally long hours without a break and/or 7 days a week without a break and you were not free to stop, quit, or leave?
- Have you ever been forced, coerced, or tricked into having sex or doing sex industry work like stripping or working as an escort?
- Did any relative or employer ever file a petition for you, your mother, or your father before April 30, 2001?
- Do you have spouse, parent, or child who is in the U.S. Military (including the Reserves), or who is an honorably-discharged veteran of the U.S. Military?
- Do you have a spouse, parent, or child who intends to enlist in the U.S. Military, or would do so in order to help you legalize your status?
- Has anyone in your family (like a parent, spouse/partner, or child) ever hit, pushed, choked, or otherwise physically or mentally harmed, threatened, insulted, controlled, or otherwise abused you, your parent, or your child?
- Before you came to the US, were you, your family, or members of a group you belong to (including LGBTQ) targeted by a government, people, or gangs trying to hurt, scare or recruit you?
- Are you afraid to return to your native country because the government, people, or gangs might target you because of your race, religion, national origin, political opinion, or because you belong to a certain group, including your family, clan, or because you are LGBTQ?
- If you are under 21, do you live away from your parent or parents, or would you choose to, because they have abused, abandoned, neglected, or similarly mistreated you?
- Do you have an employer who is willing to sponsor you for a work visa or a green card?
- When you came to the United States, did you come using a visa?
- When you came to the United States, did you come using fake papers, or the papers of a family member?
- When you came to the United States, were you “waived in” without having to show any papers?
- If you came to the U.S. and were not admitted by Customs, and were never caught by Immigration, do you have a reason to return to your country using Humanitarian Parole to visit sick/elderly relatives or participate in an educational or business opportunity?
- Were you or your parents born in El Salvador or Guatemala, and did you or your parents enter the US before September 19990?
- Was your spouse born in El Salvador or Guatemala and entered the US before September 1990?
- Were either of your parents US citizens when you were born?
- Were any of your grandparents US citizens when your parents were born?
- Have you been here at least 10 years, and were not caught at the border coming in?
- Do you have a field of research or a skill in which you are one of the best?
If you answer “Yes” or “Maybe,” then we should talk, because you may have an opportunity to obtain lawful status. If you are already a client of Hogan & Vandenberg, call my office, there is no additional fee to figure out if we can make your situation better. If you are not already a client, contact the office and schedule a consultation.
Even if none of the above apply to you, be sure to “like” our firm on Facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/hvlawgroup/ ) so you can get regular updates about immigration law. And if you have a friend or family member who needs our assistance, please have them contact us.