In the current U.S. presidential election campaign, some candidates have gone out of their way to vilify and demonize undocumented immigrants. At the same time, federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, sometimes working alongside state and local law enforcement, have been aggressively pursuing undocumented workers. For those hard-working immigrants who have come to the U.S. to escape crime and unrest in their homelands, deportation and separation from their families is possibility they live with on a daily basis.
It didn’t have to be this way. In 2014, President Obama issued an executive order that would provide work permits and legal status to people who entered the country illegally when they were children, or who entered as adults and now have children who are citizens. That order has been indefinitely postponed, however, until the U.S. Supreme Court rules on its constitutionality.
In 2008, a federal program was begun that prevented state and local law enforcement authorities from enforcing federal immigration laws. But, that program expired in 2015. And despite the fact that in 2013 Miami commissioners declared the city a sanctuary city for undocumented refugees, ICE raids have been stepped up.
U.S. immigration law is complex and it can be extremely intimidating for those seeking asylum, permanent residency or citizenship. Aggressive enforcement actions can tear families apart and send hard-working people back to war-torn and crime-ridden homelands. Dealing with the myriad laws and regulations requires knowledge and experience. Those who hope to make the U.S. their permanent home need to understand their legal options.
Source: Miami New Times, “Stepped-up federal raids terrorize immigrant families in Miami-Dade,” Alexandra Martinez, Jan. 26, 2016