By: Immigration Attorney Norka M. SchellIn the year of 2016, the election of Donald Trump was significant for the direction it signaled U.S. immigration policy would be taking in the foreseeable future.
The elected President proposes to build a wall on the Mexican border; to deport illegal immigrants; and to block the inflow of Muslims and he (the elected President) found favor with many voters in America who were obviously frustrated with the path immigration policy had been taking.
In 2016, the Congress once again failed to address the problem of Comprehensive Immigration Reform. The Congressional deadlocked over a wide range of issues, a significant one being immigration reform and the presence of some 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States, left people frustrated and unhappy.
In 2016, we had the failure of President Obama`s DACA/DAPA Initiative.
The DACA, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, Program protects unauthorized immigrants born after June 15, 1981 who were brought to the United States before their 16th birthday and have been in the country since June 15, 2007 from deportation.
The DAPA, Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, Program would have protected unauthorized parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents born on or before Nov. 20, 2014 from deportation.
Both Programs, DACA/DAPA, were aimed at helping certain non-violent illegal immigrants who immigrated to the country while under 16 years of age or who had close family members that attained permanent resident or citizenship status. The programs would have granted them temporary three year relief from removal and the right to work. The programs were ultimately blocked by a divided Supreme court.
What can we expect in 2017 with regards to immigration?
As per Forbes, under the Trump`s Administration:
1. large-scale immigration efforts are unlikely to meet with success in the face of practicality and resistance, smaller steps may succeed;
2. helping so-called Dreamers through Congressional action and court challenges to government measures taken in the absence of due process could very well be the only way immigration reform can be achieved;
3. a comprehensive immigration reform effort by a Republican-controlled Congress is conceivable, but an effort would likely be dominated by enforcement at the expense of addressing the key issue of a pathway to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States; and
4. improving the slow processing of family-based spousal sponsorship cases is possible.