US immigration laws have changed significantly over the period of the last presidency. Today we’re going to take a look at how some of the immigration law changes have impacted society.
US Immigration Laws: Effects of Changes Made Over the Last 4 Years
Since taking office, President Trump has implemented a number of changes affecting immigration. Today we’re going to take a look at how those immigration law changes have impacted society.
Stricter Enforcement of Immigration Laws
In addition to implementing a number of changes to immigration law, President Trump has put a lot of effort into enforcing existing immigration laws. How has this impacted immigrant populations?
Large numbers of immigrants have been forced into holding at immigrant detention centers where they have been packed into cells in unlivable conditions and left to wait for months on end for their cases to be heard.
During this detainment, parents and children have not only been separated, but the government managed to lose track of the parents of numerous children. This family separation has caused an entirely new crisis in the immigration system. Specifically, 485 children were separated from their parents and no one knew how to reunite those children with their parents. The parents have been returned to their native countries and some of the children have even been “misplaced.”
Changes to Asylum Rules
Another program that suffered significantly under Trump’s presidency was the asylum program. Trump severely limited the number of asylum seekers who would be permitted entry into the United States. He also limited the type of people who were eligible to seek asylum in the U.S.
Among the changes Trump made was to ban asylum seekers who had a criminal record EVEN when that crime had been expunged from their record.
Trump’s administration also implemented an expedited deportation process. This process sped up the deportation process for any immigrant who has sought asylum in the U.S. and who has lived in the country for fewer than two years and who were not lawfully paroled or admitted to the U.S.
The End of DACA
Trump also implemented the end of the DACA program designed to give illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally as children the opportunity to stay in the country without deportation and gave them the right to work while in the U.S.
Trump fought hard to end DACA, but the Supreme Court continually blocked efforts to end DACA leaving Trump frustrated and DACA members relieved.
The Travel Ban
Another of the more shockingly influential changes that the Trump administration made to the immigration system was to implement a travel ban. This travel ban prevented or restricted individuals from specific countries from coming to the United States. These countries included Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Yemen, Chad, North Korea, and Venezuela, Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Sudan, and Tanzania.
With this change in place, many people who were seeking to come to the United States for innocent reasons were denied access. This also created a number of issues for students from these countries who had been studying in colleges in the United States and who were prohibited from re-entering the country.
Trump implemented a number of changes to this travel ban as it was protested by people all over the world, but the changes he made were few and had very little impact overall. Meanwhile, people around the globe just became more incensed at what they saw as a racist action against what was dubbed “Muslim nations.”
With so many immigration changes taking place and strict enforcement of immigration laws, the immigration system saw an existing backlog of cases grow exponentially. This growth became even worse when the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
But what does a backlog in the immigration system mean for immigrants? It means A LOT of waiting. It means that for some immigrants who are on deadlines to get documentation reviewed are going to miss those deadlines and have to begin the entire immigration process all over again.
The immigration backlog also means that many more immigrants are being left in limbo and are living with uncertainty every day. Meanwhile, even those with green cards and permanent residence encounter problems because everything in the system is so backlogged. Things as simple as renewing a green card are taking much longer than they should and meanwhile those working in the immigration system are being overstretched and underpaid.
What does it mean for immigrants if immigration system staff are overworked and underpaid? It means that they are more likely to encounter tired and frustrated officials who are not able to give their all to their job. Officials who – despite their dedication to a smoothly operating immigration system – are beginning to give up and as a result, immigrants are getting the short end of the stick. Immigrants are not being heard, they are not being given the attention and time needed to properly review their cases because quite literally, the number of cases to be seen are more than there are time slots to see them.
Will Things Change?
We have talked before about the possibility of change in the immigration system and with a new president in office, we hope that some of these changes will take place quite soon. Although – if you read last week’s post you will already know – getting rid of and amending changes that have been made to the immigration system is going to take some time.
Do You Have Questions About US Immigration Laws?
If you have a question about US immigration laws or need legal representation for your current immigration needs, Nelson Immigration Law can help. To set up an initial consultation to see how we can help you just give us a call today at 626-683-3451!