The unexpected results of the recent national election have resulted in turmoil, confusion, and fear in the immigrant community -- primarily because of uncertainty about the future. NPZ Law Group, P.C. can reassure you that our excellent attorneys, in offices in New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Ohio, India, St. Maarten, and Canada, are always at the cutting-edge of information and procedure at all levels of U.S. government. While anxiety among members of the immigrant community is certainly understandable, it is not a cause for panic, particularly when practices like ours exist to protect your rights.
Until the new president takes office in January, no concrete steps will be taken relative to immigration though future plans may be clarified by the new administration during the coming months. President-elect Trump has said that he plans to deport 2 to 3 million criminal illegal aliens as soon as he comes into office. Beyond that, there is no specific information available. The important thing to remember is that immigrants in this country, legal and illegal, will still have powerful political officials, as well as talented immigration lawyers like those at NPZ, in their corner after the new president takes office.
DACA May Be at Risk
DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), also known as the DREAM Act, is still available at this time. Because it was established in 2012 by Obama's executive action, however, it is at risk of being dismantled by an executive action of the next president. DACA was designed to protect individuals who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children under the age of 16, and have met a number of other requirements -- such as having completed high school, received a GED, served in the U.S. Armed Forces, not been convicted of a serious criminal offense or perceived as a threat to national security. Such residents, considered to be "illegal immigrants" through no fault of their own, were therefore felt to be entitled to a lawful route to full citizenship.
Provisional Waiver of Unlawful Presence May Also Be in Question
While still available for at least the next several months, this waiver, which was introduced in 2013, was established to waive unlawful presence of immediate relatives of U.S. citizens on the basis of extreme hardship. As with DACA recipients, those who have benefited from this provision are alarmed at the potential prospect that their families may be separated. At the offices of NPZ we are taking steps to prepare for various options to protect our clients.
In the face of the risks to the immigrants who are integral parts of their communities, many mayors throughout the country are declaring or reaffirming their cities as "sanctuaries," putting them in direct conflict with the new administration's anti-immigration push. While considered a divisive move by some, this tactic gives hope to many in the immigrant community.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel of Chicago has been especially forceful, declaring: "To those who are, after [the] election…filled with anxiety…you are safe in the city of Chicago. Chicago will always be a sanctuary city."
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City has also taken a hard stand, saying he would go so far as to destroy a database of undocumented immigrants with city identification cards rather than hand it over to the new administration. "We are not going to sacrifice a half-million people who live amongst us," de Blasio said, "We will do everything we know how to do to resist that."
Mayors Emanuel and de Blasio have joined a wide array of other mayors, including those of Boston, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, Philadelphia, Providence, Santa Fe, Denver and Washington, D.C., all of whom say they will maintain their sanctuary status. Emanuel has even dismissed Trump's call to cut funding to cities that contradict him, saying "…the idea that you're going to penalize Boston, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia --these are the economic, cultural and intellectual energy of this country…"
Sanctuary cities can, in addition to refusing to provide lists of undocumented immigrants, can also bar their employees, including police, from asking about a person's immigration status since crime victims and witnesses may be less likely to be truthful with investigators if they are worried about being deported. Though Trump has said he may create a special deportation task force within ICE (Immigration and Customs enforcement), such sanctuary city resistance could seriously complicate such efforts.
Your Port in a Storm
NPZ Law Group, P.C. is dedicated to protecting immigrants, whatever their status. Our staff is vigilant, keeping up-to-date about all changes in immigration laws so that we can prepare to fight any inequities and alter our legal tactics as necessary. We give you our promise that no matter what the future holds, we are devoted to keeping you apprised of all your options. You, your family and your business are our first priority. You can also subscribe to our FREE bi monthly newsletter by clicking here. Our bi-monthly newsletter will help you to stay abreast of new developments in the U.S. immigration law arena.