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President Trump announced new immigration priorities

President Trump issued an executive order entitled Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States, which includes a list of violations or acts that may make an alien a priority for removal.  The list describes aliens who are inadmissible or removable for having committed certain crimes, pose security threat, have committed fraud or have willfully misrepresented a material fact to apply for immigration benefits, arriving aliens, aliens who have entered without inspection and have been present for less than two years in the United States.

The order specifically states that the administration will treat as enforcement priority removable aliens (which includes aliens that may have overstayed, or are here unlawfully) if such aliens (a)  Have been convicted of any criminal offense; (b)  Have been charged with any criminal offense, where such charge has not been resolved; (c)  Have committed acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense; (d)  Have engaged in fraud or willful misrepresentation in connection with any official matter or application before a governmental agency; (e)  Have abused any program related to receipt of public benefits; (f)  Are subject to a final order of removal, but who have not complied with their legal obligation to depart the United States; or (g)  In the judgment of an immigration officer, otherwise pose a risk to public safety or national security.

The order also requires DHS to use a report from sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with a federal detainer, and to publish on a weekly basis a “list of criminal actions committed by aliens and any jurisdiction that ignored or otherwise failed to honor any detainers with respect to such aliens.”

The order also seeks from all federal agencies “to the extent consistent with applicable law” to ensure that their privacy policies do not cover aliens other than lawful permanent residents.  In other words, the “personally identifiable information” of aliens (other than permanent residents) that may be on this list will be not be protected.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) defines personally identifiable information as follows:  “information which can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, such as their name, social security number, biometric records, etc. alone, or when combined with other personal or identifying information which is linked or linkable to a specific individual, such as date and place of birth, mother’s maiden name, etc.”

The executive order does not appear to consider DACA recipients a priority, nor people who have been in the US unlawfully for more than two years, unless they have committed a crime, engaged in fraud, abused program to received public benefits, or otherwise present security threat.  There is hope that law abiding undocumented aliens will not be considered as priority for removal now and in the future.

People are well advised to carry with them or keep immediately accessible at all times either proof of status or proof that they have been physically present in the United States for more than two years.  To prove physical presence in the United States, people should gather as many as possible of the following non-exhaustive list of documents:

  • Bank account statements
  • Utility bills
  • Medical Records
  • Leases
  • Credit card statements
  • School records
  • Insurance statements
  • Membership records

And other records that show physical presence in the United States for more than two years.

If you are concerned about your status and need immigration advice contact an immigration attorney prior to filing anything with the government.  It is extremely important to seek proper competent legal advice to avoid the many issues that may arise an an immigration case.   The Chicago law office of Zneimer & Zneimer is following all immigration developments and can provide a comprehensive advice.