Law Offices of Cindy Ramjattan Paul - Immigration lawyer, Nutley, NJ

Recent Immigration Changes by The Trump Administration

Currently, there are key changes occurring in immigration law.  On February 17, 2017, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, “DHS”, John Kelly, signed two memos into effect. They implement the two Executive Orders President Trump issued on January 25: 

  1. Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements Policies 
  2. Enforcement of the Immigration Laws to Serve the National Interest. 

These Orders reverse the majority of President Obama’s immigration policies. However, as of now, the memo protecting DACA is still enforced. While Trump cannot change laws, he is able to change policy and enforcement priorities. Here are the important things to know and understand:

  • Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “ICE” will hire 10,000 agents and Customs and Border Protection “CBP” will hire 5,000. There will no longer be a lenient approach to alien victims of crime or witnesses. 
  • Deportation is prioritized for anyone who: commits or is suspected of committing a crime, convicted of any criminal offense, works illegally, has lied or concealed information on any government form, with a final order of removal, and basically, for being unlawfully present. These provisions also effect lawful permanent residents who commit crimes. 
  • The 287(g) program is to be expanded. It allows local law enforcement to act as ICE agents. Because local law enforcement is minimally trained in immigration law, it is essential to know your rights:
  • Right to remain silent- pertains to everyone, regardless of immigration status.
  • Right to refuse to speak to an ICE agent.
  • Right to an attorney and to make a phone call. Refrain from answering questions regarding birth place, immigration status, and how you entered the country. Instead, say that you want to remain silent until you speak with an attorney. Do not sign anything until you speak with an attorney. 
  • Right to demand a warrant. You do not need to open the door unless the agent show a warrant with your name and address that is signed by a judge.
  • Right to refuse to show any documents before speaking with an attorney.
  • The Victims of Immigration Crime Engagement Office (VOICE) serves to tell victims what happened to the immigrant who committed the crime against them. However, it is unclear whether immigrant victims will receive U-visas. 
  • If you work with undocumented immigrants, ICE may assess and collect fines from you.
  • Sanctuary cities, counties, and states will be targeted. If these places release individuals that ICE placed a request for a voluntary hold on, ICE will release weekly lists that include the immigrant’s personal information such as name, home address, and immigration and criminal history.
  • Under Section 235 – CBP will detain immigrants who seek asylum relief. The exception is those who claim a fear of returning to their country. So, it is important that immigrants who do not have an actual fear of returning not say that. Section 235 will also be expanded internally. Thus, if immigrants are detained and cannot prove at that time that they have been present in the country for two years, they will be removed without a hearing. Mexican and Canadians that are detained with a claim for relief will be returned to their countries immediately while the case is process in the courts.
  • Unaccompanied children at the border will no longer be considered “unaccompanied minors” and will not be eligible for “special immigrant juvenile” relief. Further, parents of unaccompanied minors will be criminally charged and placed in deportation proceedings.

If you have any questions about the recent immigration changes or what to do if you, or someone you know, is apprehended by ICE, do not hesitate to contact our office at (973) 542 – 0200. We have trained staff to speak in Spanish and Gujarati.