By Attorney Farhad Sethna ©2017
With the recent events rocking the Trump administration (Comey firing and memos recording possible Trump interference with Comey’s investigation, leaking top secret information to Russia, unnecessary and abusive tweeting by Trump, general dissatisfaction among the rank and file Republicans on the passage of the American Healthcare Act, and numerous other problems), the Trump administration has been beset from “day one” by problems.
One question is: Do these problems impact immigration enforcement?
As we have seen since the beginning of the Trump administration (and in some cases even before), overly zealous ICE and CBP officers have been arresting and deporting thousands more immigrants than the Obama administration did. The priorities for deportation under the Obama administration have been scrapped. Instead, now everyone who is illegal*, or may even have a potential to be illegal, is being summarily picked up, detained, and deported as quickly as possible so they do not have access to legal counsel.
Will Trump’s problems in the White House slow the rate of deportations? Do Trump’s problems indicate that ICE might exercise additional discretion in determining whom to deport?
The answer is a resounding “no”. I do not believe we will see any slowdown in removal, detention, or enforcement of immigration law and specifically, enforcement of the enhanced removal policies that Trump put into place per his executive orders. People who are at risk of deportation would do well to try to secure their family and assets in the event they are picked up either inadvertently, in a blanket ICE raid, or in a targeted operation.
For instance, ICE is bragging how it has picked up thousands of gang members. Surely many of these are not gang members or gang affiliates but probably individuals who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, or living at a gang member’s prior address, or living in house where another household member belongs to a gang. ICE likes to pump up these numbers. This is of course to prove to the American electorate that Trump is keeping America safe and is “making America great again”.
So immigrants- if there is any potential for you to be removed, either get out of that situation, or start preparing for the worst. The deportation machine is not going to slow down simply because Trump’s attention is diverted elsewhere. Consult an immigration attorney – there may be options, including DACA, asylum, cancellation of removal, or waivers, to keep you legally here, or to bring you back to the USA with a valid immigrant visa.
(*By illegal, I mean individuals without immigration status in the USA, including unlawful entries, visa overstays, legal entrants but subsequently fallen out of status, and removable for criminal offenses, whether convicted or not)
About the author: Attorney Farhad Sethna has practiced law for over 25 years. Since 1996, he has been an adjunct professor of Immigration Law at the University of Akron, School of Law, in Akron, Ohio. He is a frequent speaker at Continuing Legal Education and professional development seminars on various immigration-related topics. His practice is limited to immigration and small business. With offices in Cuyahoga Falls, Akron and New Philadelphia, Ohio, Attorney Sethna represents clients in all types of immigration cases. Our number is: (330)-384-8000. Please send your general immigration questions to AttorneySethna@immigration-america.com. We will try to answer as many questions as possible