Q#1: Over the past year and a half since Donald Trump became president, what has changed in the immigration realm?
A#2: Below is the non-exhaustive list of Trump Administration’s actions taken in the immigration realm since becoming president on January 20, 2017. Keep in mind, not a single new immigration law has been passed by Congress during this time period, demonstrating the vast power the Executive Branch has over immigration policy and Congress’ lack of ability to take Legislative action:
1. Travel Ban shutting down travel from Muslim-majority countries (+North Korea)
2. Buy American, Hire American
3. Implementation of heightened screening/vetting of visas
4. Restoration of visa interviews for ALL applications (including Employment-based)
5. Cutting back on refugee resettlement (from over 50K a year to an all-time low of 20K)
6. Hiring more ICE/CBP enforcement officers (10K in 2005 to 20K in 2010 to nearly 45K in 2018)
7. Cancellation of the DACA, DAPA and TPS programs
8. Changing physical presence rules for foreign students
9. Cancelation of the entrepreneur program
10. Separation of families seeking asylum on the southern border
11. Efforts to counter the actions of sanctuary cities
12. Trying to build a physical wall along the entire 1,950 Mexican border
13. “Notice to Appear Memo” turning USCIS into an enforcement agency
14. “Request for Evidence Memo” making applications for Immigration Benefits much more difficult to be approved
15. Forced Case Quotas for Immigration Judges
16. Attorney General Jeff Sessions referring Immigration Cases to himself overruling judicial precedence
17. Changing of Public Charge interpretations
18. Excessive Processing times for ALL Immigration applications
19. Discontinuing Premium Processing of Employment-based high-skilled applications
20. More changes announced weekly…
Q#2: I am here without status and want to apply for a benefit, what should I do?
A#2: If you or someone you know is considering submitting an application for any immigration benefit with USCIS, make sure that you have a competent attorney that can evaluate your immigration and criminal history prior to any application submission to make sure that you qualify for the benefit sought and aren’t putting yourself into danger in the process.
Thomas W. Roach and Eamonn P.S. Roach are attorneys of the firm Roach & Bishop, LLP in Pasco, Washington, who practice immigration law. This information does not constitute legal advice. It is possible that this information does not apply to you. Each case depends on specific facts. If you have questions regarding the immigration laws that you would like answered in this column, please send them to: Thomas W. Roach and Eamonn P.S. Roach, 9221 Sandifur Pkwy, Suite C., Pasco, WA 99301, phone: (509) 547-7587, fax: (509) 547-7745; or email firstname.lastname@example.org.