Immigration was a central issue in the most recent presidential election. While campaigning for office, Donald Trump pledged to crack down on immigrants if elected. After taking office, the president has taken several steps to make it much more difficult for immigrants to enter into the United States.
Last week, Trump signed an executive order that had far-reaching implications for U.S. immigration policy. There were three main components of this order. First, all refugees were banned from entering the country for 120 days. Second, refugees from Syria were banned indefinitely. Third and finally, citizens from seven countries - Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Syria and Libya - are banned from entering the country for at least 90 days.
Almost as soon as the order was signed, problems began to arise at major airports in the U.S. Customs officials did not know how to enforce the order, as it was written in a way that made it very unclear about the impact upon green card holders and legal permanent residents. The end result meant that many individuals legally allowed to be in the U.S. were detained for several hours at airports, unable to speak to friends and family. Some were even asked to sign documents that would release some of their rights.
Attorneys attempted to speak to those who were being detained, but were blocked by customs officials. Several court cases challenging the order resulted in the ban being temporarily stayed, allowing these individuals to come back into the country.
Critics of the order contend that it is simply a flawed attempt to get tough on terrorism. The president has stated that his rational for signing the order was to prevent radical Muslim terrorists from entering the country. However, the ban does not apply to countries where most of the 9-11 hijackers originated from. It also does not address the fact that all of the deadly acts of terrorism in our country post 9-11 have been committed by people who were in the country lawfully, many of whom were American citizens.
This order is most likely a sign of things to come from the Trump administration. Family and employment immigration is going to be much more difficult. Families may not be able to reunite with their loved ones here, while employers and educators may lose valued employees and researchers due to the ban.
As a result of this crackdown on immigration, it is extremely important that you work with an immigration attorney when you have questions or concerns about your specific situation. An attorney will help you prepare the documentation that is necessary for you to obtain the permission to enter into the country legally.