* Dramatization
* Dramatization
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trump-2815558_640-300x200In the days leading up to the midterm elections, President Trump amped up his anti-immigration rhetoric and announced a number of proposed policies to secure the border and make it harder for undocumented immigrants to enter and stay in the country. While these announcements have helped to rally his base, there are many questions surrounding the legality of these proposals.

Below are a few frequently asked questions about these announcements and whether or not they have a real chance of becoming law or part of immigration policy.

Q: Can the president order the military to shoot incoming immigrants?

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trump-2546104_640-300x103The Trump administration recently asked the United States Supreme Court to allow it to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The President’s request, which comes at the heels of the congressional elections in which his signature anti-immigration rhetoric was a central topic, urged the justices to junk three lower court rulings that have put his campaign to end the Obama-era immigration program in limbo.

DACA protects undocumented immigrants that first entered the United States as minors from immediate deportation. Through the program, beneficiaries, known as “DREAMers”—after a failed immigration bill with the same provisions—may stay in the country for an indefinite period of time and seek legal employment through temporary and renewable work permits. DACA, however, does not offer a path to citizenship for its over 700,000 mostly-Hispanic beneficiaries.

In the court filing, Solicitor General Noel Francisco asserted that the Obama administration introduced the policy “even though existing laws provided them no ability to do so.” According to him, this justifies the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) proposal to rescind the program.

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new-york-city-559753_640-300x222According to the Wall Street Journal, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order changing a long-standing a policy that will affect the fate of foreign nationals seeking asylum in the United States. Under the proposed immigration policy change, asylum seekers may be required to enter the country through ports of entry to apply for asylum.

Citing sources inside the administration, the Journal reports that Trump may sign the order by Friday, before his scheduled Paris trip. The same officials added that the policy is only temporary, but have provided no definite timeline of its implementation.

President Trump preempted this announcement last week in a speech at the White House days before the midterm elections, claiming that he had a planned policy change that will ensure “the illegal aliens will no longer get a free pass into the country by lodging meritless claims in seeking asylum.”

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trump-1822121_640-300x213President Trump has disclosed his plans to revoke birthright citizenship to babies born on U.S. soil through an executive order—the latest in a string of moves to crack down on both lawful and unlawful immigration to the United States.

Children born in the United States, including those whose parents are foreign nationals, become U.S. citizens by default as provided by the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution, which states that “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.”

President Trump, however, wants to rescind the 14th amendment through an executive order, a move that could trigger a constitutional crisis. In an interview with Axios, he argued that “It is ridiculous [how] we’re the only country in the world where a person comes in, has a baby, and the baby is essentially a citizen of the United States for 85 years with all of those benefits.”

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police-869216_640-300x200The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently published a notice of proposed rule-making that would rescind employment authorization for certain H-4 visa dependent spouses of H1-B immigrant workers.

Provided under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), the H-1B visa allows employers in the United States to hire foreign nationals to occupy highly specialized positions in fields such as medicine, engineering, and other sciences. Dependents of H-1B holders, including spouses and children, may also come to the U.S. and acquire work authorization through the H-4 visa.

The DHS, however has proposed revoking employment authorization for certain H-4 visa holders under Proposed Rule (RIN 1514-AC15). This rule change, according to US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Director Lee Francis Cissna, was supposed to take effect as soon as February 2018 but was held off as other regulatory agenda items were up for review.

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time-273857_640-300x200US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) recently announced that it would be accepting new cap-subject petitions for H-1B visas for 2020 beginning April 1, 2019. The agency called on employers with existing H-1B employees and employers looking to hire migrant workers in the future to begin processing the necessary paperwork to ensure their employees can work legally in the United States.

In addition, individuals with F-1 student visas, as well as those who are looking to shift to H-1B status from another visa, such as the E-3, L-1, O-1, or TN visa, may need their prospective employers to file their H-1B petitions on their behalf.

About the H-1B Visa Program

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industry-406905_640-300x200In August this year, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents raided a trailer manufacturing plant in Tigertown, Texas, in what would launch a series of immigration enforcement operations against employers that knowingly hire immigrants without work authorization.

Load Trail LLC CEO Kevin Hiebert describes the raid – which occurred on the morning of August 28 at the Load Trail plant two hours northeast of Dallas – as looking like something out of a movie, involving a helicopter and 300 armed ICE agents. The agency took more than 150 Load Trail employees into custody, booked them for working in the country without authorization, and proceeded with a criminal investigation of the company that hired them.

Load Trail, however, was only the first of several similar encounters that ensued shortly after. In this year alone, ICE agents have raided a number of 7-Eleven stores, dairy and vegetable farms, a feedlot, and a meatpacking plant.

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border-control-2474151_640-300x188On Monday, the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles (CHIRLA), along with nine other immigrant rights advocacy groups, filed a lawsuit against US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) over a massive backlog of citizenship applications.

As of this writing, USCIS faces a tremendous backlog of over 730,000 pending naturalization applications, which, according to California State Representative Judy Chu, represents an 87 percent increase since 2015.

And according to a letter signed by more than 50 Congressional members delivered to USCIS Director Lee Francis Cissna, processing times for citizenship applications have also increased, running for an average of 11 months compared to the previous six months.

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tic-tac-toe-1777859_640-300x200On September 22, 2018, the Trump administration, through the Department of Homeland Security, announced a proposed rule that would change how the government classifies an immigrant entering the country or applying for a green card as a public charge. If approved, the rule would also take into account an individual’s use of public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and prohibit him or her from entering the US or applying for a green card.

Under longstanding immigration policy, the government requires immigrants applying for legal permanent resident status through a family member to prove that they will be self-sufficient once they become a permanent resident in the US. To meet this requirement, applicants usually showed proof of income that meets the threshold of 125% of the poverty guidelines, which is around $25,975 for a family of three. Immigrants who are unable to meet this threshold can combine the income of a joint sponsor with their own.

The Trump administration, however, is considering doing away with the joint sponsor solution and is proposing to allow agencies to do deeper background checks on green card applicants, taking into account factors such as age, education, health, credit score, and even the previous use of public benefits, which could be grounds for denial.

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justice-471885_640-300x225A ruling by a federal judge on October 5 may have put a categorical end to the Trump administration’s policy of denying federal grants to “sanctuary cities” that refuse to cooperate with federal immigration enforcement policies—such cities include California, San Francisco, and Austin among others.

US District Judge William Orrick III ruled that the Justice Department cannot place immigration-related conditions on federal grants, affirming similar rulings from judges in Chicago and Philadelphia. He also ruled that an immigration law, Section 1373 of Title 8 of the US Code of Laws, is unconstitutional.

Section 1373 demands the complete and uninhibited communication between a federal, state, or local government entity and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in the disclosure of an individual’s immigration status.