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Trump order changes U.S. immigration law enforcement priorities

Since taking office, Donald Trump has issued three executive orders affecting immigrants seeking to enter the United States, as well as those already present in the country. In recent posts we have discussed two of them, his travel ban and his order regarding border security. The third order is entitled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States." Like the other two, it is likely to cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for immigrants in Florida and across the U.S.

The order makes significant changes in immigration enforcement priorities. It directs the Secretary of Homeland Security to give deportation priority to certain categories of immigrants, including those who are already deemed removable and are also convicted of any crime; are charged with any crime where the charge has not been resolved; or have done anything that could be charged as a crime. It also targets immigrants who are already removable and have "abused" any public benefits program.

The order attempts to intimidate America's sanctuary cities, by withholding federal grant money from any jurisdiction or municipality that refuses to turn undocumented immigrants over to federal authorities. The order also calls for the hiring and training of an additional 10,000 immigration officers.

Immigrants who are concerned about the effect of Trump's orders will benefit from staying informed. For those who are thinking about applying for citizenship, now would be a good time to start the process. As the chaos surrounding Trump's recent travel ban demonstrated, even green card holders have no guarantee of being unaffected by this administration's immigration policies.

Source: National Lawyers Guild, National Immigration Project, "Practice Advisory: Trump Administration Executive Order Outlining New Enforcement Priorities," Sejal Zota & Dan Kesselbrenner, January 26, 2017

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