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What Immigrants Need to Know About President Trump’s Latest Executive Order

Fear and confusion have been common among immigrants as a result of Executive Orders issued by President Trump in late January. An immigration attorney in Texas with Morales & Sparks, P.L.L.C. is ready to help if you or a loved one experiences any issues. Here is some information on the orders and how they may affect you.

What the Orders Say

The Executive Orders were issued in an effort to enforce the country’s immigration laws, which, as Trump wrote, are “critically important” to the safety and security of the United States. He wrote that aliens who either violate their visas or illegally enter the U.S. present a “significant threat.” The purpose of the orders is to direct agencies and executive departments to “employ all lawful means” needed to enforce U.S. immigration laws.

To carry out this order, which was published on January 25, 2017, Trump directed the Secretary of Homeland Security to prioritize the removal of certain categories of aliens. These include those who have been convicted of a crime, been charged with a crime, or committed an act that “constitutes a chargeable criminal offense.” In addition, the order calls for the removal of aliens who have either engaged in fraud or have willfully misrepresented themselves before a government agency, abused any sort of public benefits program, or, in the opinion of an immigration officer, poses a risk to national security or public safety.

Trump issued another order on the same day calling for all agencies to deploy whatever resources they can to secure the southern border of the U.S. to prevent any more immigrants from entering the country illegally. The order also called for the construction of a physical wall along the border.

For better or worse, Executive Orders have been in place since there have been presidents. Here are some examples:

  • Abraham Lincoln signed an order that came to be known as The Emancipation Proclamation.
  • Dwight Eisenhower signed an order authorizing the deployment of federal troops to integrate schools in Little Rock, AR.
  • Harry Truman signed one ordering the desegregation of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines.
  • Franklin Delano Roosevelt signed an order calling for the immediate internment of Americans of Japanese heritage at the start of World War II.

Know Your Rights — Speak to an Austin, TX Immigration Attorney

It would be very understandable if you are scared about what’s happening with these Executive Orders, and you don’t know what’s going to happen next. An immigration attorney for citizenship with Morales & Sparks is ready to provide whatever type of help you may need.

The most important thing during this uncertain time is not to panic — and definitely don’t live your life in fear. But it’s also extremely important to stay as well informed as possible and know your rights at all times. No matter what sort of immigrant you may be, you should know any rights and protections afforded to you by the U.S. constitution.

An immigration attorney can advise you as to what rights you have and what to do if detained by immigration officials. The attorney can provide your family with contact information should an emergency arise.

What to Do — And What NOT to Do — If You are a Green Card Holder or an Undocumented Immigrant

If you have a green card and you are preparing to travel internationally, you may be subjected to extensive questioning once you return to the U.S. You may also have to go through extensive inspections of your luggage. It’s even possible — although not a guarantee by any means — that your phone may be searched for any e-mails or social media pages that could contain anti-U.S. sentiments. Whether or not you are subjected to this invasive intrusion, you should still expect that it could take quite a long time from when you land to when you will be able to leave the airport to return home.

One thing you should know if you are a green card holder is that if you sign a Form I-407 at the port of entry, you will willingly give up your status as a Legal Permanent Resident of the U.S. and be denied permission to enter the country.

If you are a citizen of another country and you are preparing to travel out of the United States, talk to an immigration attorney first before you leave. Keep that attorney’s contact information handy should you experience any issues. If you have lived in the United States for more than four years and nine months as a green card holder, apply for citizenship as soon as possible if you qualify and are not removable.

But even if you’re not traveling, you need to be careful whether you’re a green card holder or an undocumented immigrant. For example, if you have your valid work permit or state identification cards, keep these with you at all times. If you are given a ticket, pay your fine immediately and make sure you show up at any court hearings that may be required. If you are undocumented and have a case pending with the Department of Homeland Security or with an immigration court, keep documentation with you to demonstrate that you have a pending matter.

Another critically important way to protect yourself if you should be detained or arrested by an immigration enforcement agent will be to have a safety plan in place. Memorize your closest contact’s phone number and provide your child’s day care center or school with the contact information of someone who can pick up your children should you be detained. And, of course, have your attorney’s information with you at all times.

If you have any questions or need help in any way, contact a Texas green card lawyer with Morales & Sparks. We have a great deal of experience in immigration issues, and we will be ready to make sure your rights are protected at all times. Call 512.930.5511 or contact us online to learn more or to schedule an appointment.