Immigration reforms

President Trump Announces Major Immigration Reforms

By Peek & Toland on February 15, 2017

President Trump signed two orders on immigration and border security on Jan. 25. They amount to major immigration reforms.

Although Trump’s pledge to press on with a wall between Mexico and the United States made headlines, his orders contained some other important immigration moves on areas such as sanctuary cities and immigrants who commit crimes.

Here are some of the main elements of the reforms.

Trump's immigration reforms

Building a Wall

Trump has instructed the homeland security secretary to take steps to design, plan and construct a “physical wall along the southern border.” The move is intended to assert greater U.S. control over the border.

Although Trump can issue executive orders, the funding for the project needs to be approved by Congress. The 1,300 mile long wall could cost $15 to $25 billion, reports CNN. Trump wants to pay for the wall up front and recoup the cost from Mexico. The Mexican government says it will not pay for the barrier.

Expanding Detention Centers

The orders envisage more undocumented immigrants being held in detention centers. Congress had funding for about 34,000 beds for the detention of immigrants at the start of the year.

The order instructs the Department of Homeland Security to build or establish detention facilities close to the border and staff them with asylum officers and immigration judges. Immigrants caught illegally crossing the border or in deportation proceedings would be housed in the centers.

In Texas, immigrant detention centers have faced legal challenges over the housing of women and children within their walls.

Defunding Sanctuary Cities

As part of his so-called “interior” security measures, Trump wants to stamp out sanctuary cities – jurisdictions that shield undocumented immigrants from federal law enforcement.

The order would remove federal grant money from the sanctuary states like San Francisco and Austin that harbor illegal immigrants.

The order declares that sanctuary cities would not be “not eligible” for federal grants. It directs the Office of Management and Budget to highlight federal grant money currently going to sanctuary jurisdictions.

An article on CNN said moves to strip sanctuary cities of money will almost inevitably face a legal challenge.

Increasing the Deportation Force

The orders support a larger deportation force to remove more undocumented immigrants.

The border security order instructs the Department of Homeland Security to hire another 5,000 Border Patrol agents. The order that focuses on the security of the interior of the nation seeks the addition of 10,000 immigration officers. It’s a pledge that’s subject to Congressional approval.

These are uncertain and difficult times to be an immigrant and these immigration reforms make it harder. However, we are not sure exactly how the immigration reforms will pan out and the timeframe in question. The family immigration lawyers at Peek & Toland can help you out. Please call us at (512) 474-4445.

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The Key Questions in Donald Trump’s Immigration Reforms

By Peek & Toland on October 28, 2016

They caused an outcry, but we thought we knew where we stood with Donald Trump’s immigration reforms when he wanted to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants and to build a wall.

But in recent weeks a lack of clarity in the Republican nominee for president’s stance on immigration and rumors of backtracking have led to questions over his proposed immigration reforms.

A CNN report said Trump is facing flak from moderate voters who see his past rhetoric on immigration as racist. At the same time, he wants to appease his conservative base by taking a hard line on immigration.

Donald Trump's immigration reforms are unclear

The net result is a lack of clarity. It’s something that concerns our Austin immigration attorneys who have explored reforms to the system on our website.

Are Trump’s Immigration Reforms Narrowing?

CNN noted an apparent narrowing of the scope of the immigration reforms from Trump. It suggests he might be rethinking the hardline policy that he made his name for in the primaries.

However, there is a worrying lack of specifics. Trump’s stance led to claims he is being deliberately vague to avoid alienating voters.

Trump was asked about the plans to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants. He deflected the question and said he wants to swiftly remove criminal immigrants from the United States.

Meanwhile, a senior campaign advisor has said there will be a conversation on what to do with undocumented immigrants after the border is secured. Trump would concentrate on the wall plan before deportation but his immigration reforms are clouded.

Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, acknowledged Trump had made a shift over immigration but was unable to give much clarity over the deportation issue.

Previously, Trump has cited the example of “Operation Wetback” in 1954. President Dwight Eisenhower’s government rounded up thousands of undocumented immigrants from ranches and fields. They were transported to detention centers and sent them back to Mexico.

In a previous blog, we have noted how an initiative to round up 11 million undocumented immigrants would pose massive logistical difficulties. Deportations peaked at about 400,000 annually in the most active year. Removing 11 million people would be unprecedented. Experts have warned locating the immigrants alone would be almost impossible. Police officers would be required to ask for proof of residency or citizenship during random traffic stops or other stops. Critics believe this scenario would curtail civil liberties.

If you need help with a pressing immigration matter or are facing possible deportation, contact our Austin immigration lawyers as soon as possible.

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