Changes Coming The Rest Of This Year & Next Year 2021

Now that the election is behind us. There's been a lot of talk about 2021 and what the future holds about what we expect to see in 2020 'cause it's not over yet. But what are some things that we can expect to see?

During this time of transition we have called the lame duck period where Trump is still president. He's got a few more months or two-ish months in office. And of course nobody really knows exactly what's gonna happen. But the thing is that, he on his way out will probably take aim at vulnerable people including the immigrant population, which we know has been a target of his administration for the last four years. So the most recent development in immigration is the expansion of expedited removal which means that historically people who are caught entering the country can be deported without seeing a judge. What the Trump administration did within the last month is they expanded the option of expedited removal to the interior of the United States, where everyone can be deported without seeing a judge under expedited removal, if they can't prove to the satisfaction of the deportation officer that they've been in the U S for longer than two years. So what that means is that no one who is undocumented should be out of their house without proof of your presence in the US for two years. Right now is a very vulnerable window of time for undocumented immigrants. And you need to know how to protect yourselves: Always have your proof of presence in the US for longer than two years.
If you have any kind of official type evidence of your time in the US it can be any kind of receipt, anything with your name and a location on it. And a date that shows that you've been in the US for this period of time is going to serve for this purpose. And I think it makes sense to spend a few hours gathering this.

I know it's not a fun project, but it's definitely one of those better safe than sorry situations. And save it in your phone in a folder of pictures, so you always have it on your phone or save a folder that you stick in your car or have in your purse or all of the above because it's really hard for us as lawyers to stop an expedited removal, because they can just do it without a judge's order. And so we want to make sure that you guys are equipped to have the evidence that you need to get yourselves into regular deportation proceedings which is what used to happen when someone got apprehended, they were put into deportation proceedings.

Is any police officer going to be asking for that?

No, cops shouldn't be asking for that. But usually what happens is, if someone gets arrested in Bastrop, for example, for driving without a license, the Bastrop police department is gonna call ICE to the scene and then ICE will do the processing. Or if someone just gets arrested and taken to be booked through a County jail, ICE is gonna be notified. And at that point they'll come and they'll do a review on what to do next.

Previous expedited removal they would detain that person, put them in proceedings we'd start the bond process and we talk about what are the ways, the things that you guys need to know when you're put in proceedings. But that requires that you're not placed on expedited removal. So that's why this is such an important alert to keep the stuff on you, because we want to just be able to get you guys into regular removal proceedings. So we can start bond applications, defense to deportation applications, like all this stuff that comes with a removal case. You don't even get to that. If you get expediently removed you just get sent home. And for people from Mexico, it's like within a matter of hours. So it's really critical that you guys know that you need to have this stuff on you always at least until this policy changes, which hopefully will really early in the next administration. But these next few months are critical for the immigrant community particularly the undocumented community.

And that's a great segue to 2021. What can we expect about certain changes that we expect to see in the first 100 days?

A President has quite a bit of authority to impact immigration policies without congressional approval. So that's good news for us starting on January 20th, that we have Biden in office who has announced that his first 100 days are going to be spent in a lot of ways rolling back the negative policies that we saw under Trump. So most notably I think, would be the DACA program. Biden has already told us that one of his first actions in office will be to completely open and expand the DACA program. So that's one of the first actions I think similar to DACA we're going to see the same thing in TPS (Temporary Protected Status). Biden is going to do a TPS review and maybe even expand TPS status to people from other countries that have experienced infrastructure collapse. We'll see changes in asylum, the ending of the MPP program, people will be able to come and seek asylum and process through the credible fear interview like they did before and eligibility for asylum, work permits for asylum, etc. All of these things have been impacted and restricted under the Trump administration. And these are all executive actions that we can expect to be reversed and improved for immigrants under the Biden administration.

Basically just survive the next couple of months, as best as we can. Prepare, have those documents ready and then 2021 will be better. I guess my recap of that is like anything that Trump did, Biden is able to undo. And it sounds like he's planning to as well. That is a great bottom line but it's not going to be immediate.

People who are eligible for some form of relief like a family-based case or a VAWA case or a U-visa whatever it is, if you're thinking “I'm just gonna wait”, “I just want to wait until Biden's in office”, I think that if you're eligible for a benefit, it makes sense to apply when you can because it gives you some protection. If things get better and you've already filed, that's great for you. If things get worse and you already filed you're protected. So that's one reason I really try to encourage people not to wait. And this is coming from experience where I've seen people wait because "Oh, things are gonna get better" or "I'm gonna save up my money" or whatever reason, and then the next thing, you know, the eligibility is gone for them and we can't help them anymore or even worse they get put into proceedings and it's a much harder case. If you're thinking about something and wondering what's best for you, call us or text us because at the firm we wanna help as many people as we can. That means helping you guys make the right determination about what's best for you. All day, every day we will tell people it's not a good idea for you to do anything right now. We will tell people that, but it's better to have that information. Just call us if you have questions about this stuff.