One Easy Way
Dear friends and colleagues,
It’s difficult to keep up these days with all the changes in policies affecting immigrants. At some point, it probably gets overwhelming and confusing so that each announcement feels less significant. For this reason, I have not issued a newsletter at each policy changed, preferring to share them on our firm Facebook page. But this policy change regarding expedited removal will likely have a significant impact on immigrants already living in the United States, and there is an easy way to avoid its application.
Today, the Trump Administration announced in the Federal Register (https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2019-15710.pdf) its plans to expand Expedited Removal to all immigrants. Expedited Removal is a long-standing law that allows low-level immigration officers to summarily deport an immigrant without any due process: no right to see an immigration judge or to put forth any defense to deportation. So far, it has only been applied to migrants: people who are apprehended within 100 miles of the border and within two weeks of their entry. It has not affected immigrants living in the interior of the United States.
Effective immediately, Expedited Removal will be expanded to any immigrant apprehended in the United States who cannot prove upon apprehension that she or he has been in the United States for longer than two years.
What this means is that if an immigrant has been living in the US for many years but does not carry proof of this time in the US, if apprehended, he could be deported immediately without any time to prepare or fight his case. This could affect mixed-status families with US citizen spouses and children.
Bottom line: any undocumented immigrant who has been living in the United States for more than two years must always carry proof of your time in the United States.
Items that can prove presence: lease or rental contracts, bank accounts, medical and dental records, utility and other bills, tax returns, birth certificates of children, etc.
Know your rights about when to open the door to immigration agents and know your rights in a traffic stop or a raid. https://www.aclu.org/know-your-rights/immigrants-rights/
And finally, for immigrants to have a fear of returning to your country, tell the immigration agent that you are afraid to return and want to seek asylum. ICE cannot deport you until they have given you an opportunity to pass an asylum interview, called a credible fear interview or reasonable fear interview.
As always, call or message our office with questions or concerns: (512) 599-8500