The US immigration system is going through ch-ch-ch-changes. On the campaign trail, candidate Trump won a lot of support for his tough-on-immigration stance. And now that he's in the White House, President Trump is putting his pen where his mouth is.
Here's a list of things Trump has said he would do, and how he's making them happen...
A temporary travel ban for six Muslim-majority countries...is on hold. Again. President Trump signed a revised executive order, weeks after version 1.0 got held up in court over questions as to whether it was constitutional. The new order bans people from Sudan, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia and Yemen from entering the US for at least 90 days. Current visa and green-card holders from these countries would still be valid. The original travel ban included Iraq. But that got scrapped since Iraq is kind of a big deal ally when it comes to, you know, the fight against ISIS. Right before Trump's second travel ban was set to take effect, a federal judge in Hawaii temporarily blocked it nationwide.
A temporary ban on refugees coming into the US…is blocked too. The same executive order that temporarily bans immigrants from six countries also temporarily stops refugees from coming to the US while the gov makes sure the vetting process is solid.
A wall along the US-Mexico border...is being built “in months.” Hundreds of miles of fencing already exists along the border, but Trump is still singing 'to the window to the big, beautiful wall.' Who's paying? Good question. Trump says Mexico. Mexico's president says 'nope,' and canceled his scheduled trip to the US because of the drama. So Trump's team has said they might pay for the wall by taxing imports from Mexico. Your guac habit may have just gotten more expensive.
Cracking down on sanctuary cities...has begun. Trump signed an executive order to cut federal funding for sanctuary cities – aka big cities like NY, LA, and SF that are known for protecting undocumented immigrants from deportation unless they've committed major crimes. Cue the mayor of NYC saying he'll sue the Trump administration if they actually pull the federal funding rug out from underneath the city. Stay tuned for another legal battle.
Deporting more undocumented immigrants...has begun. Trump signed executive orders directing the US gov to be more aggressive about enforcing US immigration law. Under former President Obama, the Department of Homeland Security deported undocumented immigrants who'd been convicted of serious or violent crimes. Now, pretty much anyone in the country illegally could be deported. Top priority are the ones who've been convicted of a crime - or have been charged with a crime.
This is called Trump keeping his promises to America. And that if there's one bad apple in the immigration bunch, it's much safer to keep everyone out for the time being. Supporters are also quick to point out that President Trump is the, yup, President...meaning he has the authority to sign executive orders, even if people don't like them.
This is called racism and it's potentially unconstitutional. Opponents are quick to point out that America is a melting pot that was built on the idea of giving outsiders the chance at a better life. And that the majority of terrorists aren't even coming from the countries Trump put on his 'You Shall Not Pass' list.
Short answer: no one knows. Longer answer: there are a few things up Trump's sleeve that he could put into motion in the next few weeks or months…
DACA...as in the program started by former President Obama that protects people who were brought to the US as kids from being deported. So far, the program still exists, but Trump promised on the campaign trail to scrap it entirely. This would put the legal status of tens of thousands of people in limbo.
Visas...as in the legal documents immigrants use to live and work in the US. A lot of people think Trump might change the requirements to get a visa, including an H-1B. That's the one that allows companies to hire skilled workers in areas like science and technology. Silicon Valley would be less than pleased to see this happen.
All of this is TBD, so pull out your Magic 8-Ball. The future of immigration in the US is looking cloudy.
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