FOR IMMIGRANTS, NOT MUCH TO CELEBRATE FOR HOLIDAYS

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By David m. Sperling

The holiday season is supposed to be a time for joy and celebration.  Instead, for millions of immigrants, the end of 2017 is a time of great uncertainty and fear.

That is because our president is terminating temporary protections for DACA and TPS registrants, and has basically nullified the previous administration’s sensible policy of prosecutorial discretion.

Under President Obama, immigration authorities were given great latitude in enforcement.  If an unauthorized immigrant had deep roots in the United States and had no criminal record, chances are the government would not pursue deportation enforcement.

Now, even Legal Permanent Residents are subject to deportation for crimes committed decades ago.   Undocumented immigrants with clean records and U.S. Citizen children are living in fear of a knock on the door at 5 a.m.

Fortunately, we are a nation of laws and due process. Many of our clients mistakenly believe that ICE agents will raid their homes or businesses as soon as TPS and DACA protections end. Hopefully, Congress will soon come up with a permanent solution to protect DACA and TPS beneficiaries, but if not, there is no reason to panic.

ICE has limited resources, and will NOT be targeting DACA and TPS beneficiaries unless they have criminal records, or gang associations, or otherwise pose a danger to the community.  Furthermore, unless the DACA and TPS beneficiaries have a prior deportation order, they are eligible to file for any other available relief, including asylum, in court proceedings that can take several years to adjudicate.

For this reason, it is essential that  DACA and TPS beneficiaries contact an experienced immigration lawyer, who can analyze their case and offer solutions that provide a path to permanent legal status.

On the other hand, the quickest route to deportation is to commit a crime. Here’s a bit of holiday advice for anyone who is not a U.S. Citizen:

Don’t drive without a license, don’t even THINK of driving while intoxicated, avoid gang members, don’t live in same house with someone with a criminal record and/or deportation order, and always obey the law. And if you are a crime victim, speak to an immigration attorney; you may be eligible for a Green Card.

And don’t forget to enjoy the holidays.

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