It’s another rough day to be an immigration attorney in America. Yesterday, a decision was issued that seriously undermines the ability of immigrants to seek asylum in this country. The administration is continuing its war against immigrants, building its invisible wall to complement the one they want to put on the border and finding new ways to keep immigrants from coming here or from obtaining protections. A crazy thing about our immigration system it is that the Immigration Courts are entirely under the control of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
We have heard a lot about the “Caravan” of immigrants making its way north through Mexico from the Northern Triangle- El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala- of Central America. Once numbering over 1200 people, the remaining 150-200 members Caravan arrived at the U.S. border to request refuge in the United States. When they got there, they were told that the U.S. was full. There was not even a manger to house them.
For March 2018, we want to highlight our clients, Yovanny Soto and Heidi Andrade, and their really cute kids. On February 7, 2018, Yovanny was admitted to the U.S. as a permanent resident after living in the U.S. without status for 18 years. Since he was a child, Yovanny has worked while going to school to help his elderly parents provide for his 16 siblings. After his father was murdered in Guatemala, Yovanny fled his home with the hope of safety and a better life.
I have been waiting to write this one for decades. Meher is one of my favorite people and on May 18, 2017, she will take the oath of United States citizenship in her hometown of New York, NY. It was a 16 year journey that Meher and I began in our twenties. We have moved across jobs, law firms, cities, and countries together. Meher and I both overcame challenges to find enduring peace at this point in our lives.
Back in November, we made some predictions about what might occur in a Trump presidency as it relates to immigration. Generally, we were very pessimistic and presumed that almost all areas of immigration would become more difficult and challenging for immigrants, families and communities. This has proven to be true, but not in all of the ways we anticipated. In some areas, such as refugees and admission policies, the administration has been as bad as expected.
Last week, we discussed what might happen early on in a Trump presidency. It was not our goal to sound alarmist, but early indications are that Trump is not backing down on his awful immigration ideas. His elevation of restrictionist Kris Kobach, the architect of so many terrible anti-immigrant laws and initiatives, demonstrates that Trump intends to keep his campaign promises on immigration. Based upon our assessment of what is likely to come, here are some practical tips that you can follow to prepare for the Trump administration, which takes office on January 20, 2017.
The shock over the results of Tuesday’s election of Donald Trump has not yet worn off. After two days of triage in hearing from scared clients and friends, we are now forced to confront what will lie ahead for immigration policy in a new administration. Before we go ahead though, it is important to point out a couple of things. First, our take here is speculative- Donald Trump has never voted for anything as a legislator or taken action as a government official.
Our client of the month for September 2016 is Flora Estrada Amador, a hard-working, kind-hearted woman from Honduras who waited over 20 years to become a permanent resident (“green card” holder) of the United States. Flora first came to the United States in the mid-90s as an A-3 personal employee of a diplomat. She then received Temporary Protected Status (“TPS”) for Hondurans in 1999 and left her position with the diplomatic family.
This summer, I have had the great privilege of working for Benach Collopy on transgender asylum cases as the Fellow for Trans Asylum. Through a partnership with Whitman-Walker Health Legal Services, I have had the opportunity to work on 11 different asylum cases for transgender women from Central America, Mexico, and Peru. Each of these women were forced to flee their country due to persecution based on their gender identity.
“It is said that the quality of recent immigration is undesirable. The time is quite within recent memory when the same thing was said of immigrants who, with their descendants, are now numbered among our best citizens.” President Grover Cleveland, 1897 Today, it can be easy to forget that Germans were once derided for not speaking English, the Irish were resented for being Catholic, and that Eastern Europeans were considered inferior to “real” white people.