PRESIDENT TRUMP’S EXECUTIVE ORDER AND WHAT THAT MEANS FOR MILLIONS OF IMMIGRANTS/
BY EGI DEROMEMAJ/ On Wednesday January 25, 2017, President Trump started making good on some of the promises he had given during his campaign. The President signed two executive orders dealing with immigration and border security. There are more executive orders set to be signed in the coming weeks and months regarding immigration policy.
The new executive orders are dealing with removal priorities, crimes, ban of refugees and immigration from various countries.
The first order, “Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvement.” deals directly with building the wall between the U.S. and Mexican border. The order calls for the addition 5,000 border agents to be brought on board in order to enforce border security. The funding of such a project remains unresolved. The likelihood being that tax payer money will end up paying for the wall.
The second order, “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States,” is designed to push for greater enforcement of immigration laws, which in turn means higher rate of deportation of immigrants from the United States.
The executive order calls for removing federal funding for the so-called ‘sanctuary cities’, like New York City, that do not use local law enforcement to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement.
The most concerning part of this order is the broad language that is used to describe the enforcement priorities of individuals to be deported from the United States. The order includes removable aliens who:
(a) Have been convicted of any criminal offense;
(b) Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved;
(c) Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense;
(d) Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency;
(e) Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits;
(f) Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or
(g) In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.
To put this in perspective, it would mean that any undocumented immigrant in the United States charged with even a minor misdemeanor, such as driving without a license or speeding, will be a priority for removal. The language is so broad that it allows immigration officers discretion on who they deport. It may lead to greater profiling and arrests in order to have undocumented aliens become a priority for removal. This is dangerous for the 11 million undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The order makes all undocumented immigrants a priority for removal. It marks the end of ‘catch and release’ policy that was placed under the Obama administration that focused its deportation efforts on certain criminal aliens. This could leave thousands of individuals from our own Albanian community at risk for removal.
Although not released as of yet, there are several executive order drafts dealing with immigration that Trump is considering signing. These drafts have been leaked to the media and will likely be signed in the coming weeks or months.
The first of these orders deals with suspension of visa issuance where adequate screening cannot occur. This would mostly target Middle East countries. It mandates a screening process for those entering the United States which will lead to greater profiling of Muslims and people from the Middle East region. It also seeks to suspend Refugee Admissions Program for the next 120 days, which would leave thousands of Syrian refugees in the cold. It further seeks to implement a suspension of all immigrants from countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for the next 30 days.
The second of these orders deals with the termination of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) process which to date has given around 800,000 young individuals deferred action from deportation and the right to work and go to school in the United States. This could have dire effects on students across the country. It would also make them more vulnerable to removal since their information would be easily accessible by immigration authorities. The order would cease processing all new DACA applications and allow current recipients to retain their work authorization until it expires. Many of the kids that were able to come out of hiding will now be placed in a dangerous position.
The third order deals with eliminating the unlawful employment of undocumented aliens in order to deter visa overstays.
These executive orders run counter to our American tradition. Organizations and legal representatives across the country are preparing for a legal battle. What President Trump is trying to enforce is viewed by many as broad and outside of the legal scope of executive orders. Trump is trying to take a strong stance in his first few weeks in office, and in his push for change he is leaving millions of immigrants in fear and panic.
Egi Deromemaj, Esq.
Pastor & Deromemaj, P.C.