Since taking office, Donald Trump has issued three executive orders affecting immigrants seeking to enter the United States, as well as those already present in the country. In recent posts we have discussed two of them, his travel ban and his order regarding border security. The third order is entitled "Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States." Like the other two, it is likely to cause a great deal of fear and anxiety for immigrants in Florida and across the U.S.
These are frightening times for undocumented immigrants in Florida. Last week we discussed President Trump's executive order banning immigration from seven countries. This week, we'll look at another other Trump executive order, entitled "Border Security and Immigration Enforcement Improvements."
President Trump's recent executive order banning people from seven countries from entering the United States has caused an uproar in Florida and throughout the country. The order prohibits all immigration from Iraq, Iran, Libya, Yemen, Syria, Sudan and Somalia - all of which are Muslim-majority nations.
The arrival of the new presidential administration has caused uncertainty for immigrants living in this country and proposed changes to US immigration law. It has also added ambiguity to the legal status of the Dreamers, 750,000 immigrants who received work permits and temporary residency under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which commenced in 2012.
Florida is home to many Cuban-Americans. Many members of Florida's Cuban community were no doubt dismayed by a recent shift in U.S. immigration policy. For 22 years, U.S. policy allowed Cuban immigrants who made it to U.S. soil to stay and become legal residents, even though they arrived without visas. This month, President Obama announced that the so-called "wet foot, dry foot" policy was terminated, effective immediately.
Learning that a relative has been taken into detention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) can be alarming. When the family is unable to find out where their loved one is being held, their alarm can turn into desperation and fear. With the incoming administration promising little mercy in the enforcement of U.S. immigration law, many Florida families may find themselves in this harrowing situation.
Many undocumented immigrants in Florida live in fear that a brush with the law may lead to deportation. Unfortunately, their fear is justified. For those with prior convictions, even a minor offense like a traffic violation can lead to incarceration in a detention center and the initiation of deportation proceedings.
For many immigrants living in Florida, the path to U.S. citizenship or permanent residency begins with a visa application. As we discussed in an earlier post, there are many reasons an application for a U.S. visa could be denied. These include health reasons, conviction of certain crimes or a perceived threat to national security. Similarly, an application for legal permanent resident status -- a green card -- can be denied for any number of reasons.
Many immigrants to the United States, including many in the Miami area, came here as children or infants. Some were brought by their parents, and some were adopted from overseas by U.S. couples. These children have attended American schools, made friends in America, grown up in America and started careers here. Many of them have no memory at all of their original homelands. Any some of them may be unaware that they are not U.S. citizens.