Gone are the days when, under the Obama administration, immigration enforcement priorities were clearly outlined. Now, with Donald J. Trump as president, immigration policies regarding enforcement and deportation have become more confusing. As a result, discretion is left to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent in the field, which creates confusion among officers in the same ICE department and different ICE departments.
In the past, non-citizens with deportation or removal orders did not have to fear actual deportation unless they had a criminal history. Now, it is imperative that they have a backup plan in the event they are on orders of supervision, in which they are required to report to ICE periodically; if they show up for their next appointment, they may wind up being detained. If they are married to a U.S. citizen, they will be able to either reopen their removal case or consular process. They will be asked to appear before Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) to ensure the marriage is legitimate.
The growing trend under the Trump administration is more lawful permanent residents being placed in removal proceedings after they filed for naturalization. What happens is, the CIS reviews the applicant’s request for naturalization, but notices the applicant did not answer the questions truthfully. Those who have since been naturalized and a contributor to American society — going to work, paying their taxes, raising their families — are now facing removal because of making a false statement on their application years ago.
Lawful permanent residents may face removal when they use someone else’ identity when filling out a form or failed to mention a prior arrest, even if it was dismissed. Sometimes, the naturalization unit will revisit the bona fides of the marriage after the non-citizen adjusted their marital status and is no longer married. The same issues are often discovered during the inspection process when somebody is returning to the U.S. after traveling abroad.
There has also been an increase in the amount of criminal prosecutions for immigration violations, such as visa fraud, making false statements on applications, holding oneself out to be a U.S. citizen, knowingly harboring or transporting undocumented aliens and entry after deportation. Even states, including New York, have started vigorous prosecutions of identity fraud. This usually occurs when somebody uses a fake document to get a driver’s license or heads to another state falsely claiming they live there.
If you are concerned about the possibility of removal are seeking advice, it is important to consult with an experienced immigration attorney. The New York immigration attorneys at Bretz & Coven, LLP have a long history of zealous, knowledgeable, and honest advocacy on behalf of immigrants. To schedule your consultation, contact our qualified New York immigration lawyers today at (212) 267-2555.