Of course, we cannot know what actions President Trump will take until he takes them. And we don’t know when he may take action. Predictions this early are not reliable, but here are some thoughts.
It’s likely that immigration of refugees from Arab countries will be suspended.
It may also be that President Trump will issue an executive order to temporarily suspend or cancel entry to the U.S. on certain non-immigrant visas such as tourist visas from target countries such as Syria or perhaps Iraq. It’s difficult to imagine that he would also cancel immigrant visas such as fiance or marriage visas, but it is possible. The immigrant visa classifications have more rigorous processing than the non-immigrant visas, but all visa issuance might be suspended and more thorough vetting put into place. Current vetting is very good, so it’s unclear what more he may want to try.
Trump has stated he will undo all of President Obama’s executive actions. DACA is a major action that can easily be repealed by the signature of the President alone. It may be that he cancels DACA altogether or issues an order not to allow any new DACA applications and not to allow DACA to be renewed.
There is a huge advantage of having DACA benefits. If you are working with employment authorization, it might help to keep your job if possible since getting a new job will be more difficult after DACA work authorization is cancelled. For those who have international travel privileges, using them to visit relatives now is important, not only to see family but to obtain lawful entry (parole) to the U.S. for those who were brought here illegally as children. Lawful entry can help you in the future.
There is the possibility that you could be removed from the U.S. if DACA benefits are cancelled and ICE knows where you reside. If DACA is cancelled, it may help to relocate.
I-601A bar waivers
The I-601A bar waivers allow for a waiver of unlawful presence so that the foreigner does not suffer the penalty of a 3 or 10 year bar for unlawful presence in the U.S. I-601A waivers are also created by executive order. They allow for the bar waiver process to occur while the foreign spouse or immediate family member remains in the U.S. Once the bar waiver is approved, we continue with consular processing and obtain the immigrant visa and green card. This method of obtaining a bar waiver helps reassure the foreigner that they will not suffer a penalty for unlawful presence when it comes time to complete case processing at a U.S. consulate abroad. This executive order went through regulatory process, so it can be undone. However, there are steps the Department of Homeland Security will need to take to unwind the I-601A benefit.
As of November 20, 2014, the Secretary of Homeland Security issued a DHS memorandum (link to PDF) prioritizing the targets of removal proceedings. Essentially, those with criminal convictions or who entered the U.S. recently are considered a priority for apprehension, but not others. Attorneys ask for prosecutorial discretion to shield family members from removal who are not a threat to our society and who have been in the U.S. for years. If the memorandum is withdrawn, each local ICE department will have more freedom to decide whom they want to deport. Attorneys will have no foundation to request special consideration.
If you have an immediate relative who is a U.S. citizen or green card holder, it helps to learn whether you have opportunities now that may not exist in a few months.
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